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From the landfill to your cabin
Dettah man sells 150 wood stoves made from salvaged materials

Kevin Allerston
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Dettah man has found a way to turn waste into profit by converting discarded fuel drums he's salvaged from the city landfill into wood stoves.

NNSL photo/graphic

David Giroux displays one of his custom-made stoves on Saturday at his home/workshop in Dettah. The stove is made out of a Tidy Tank salvaged from the Yellowknife Solid Waste Facility, which can be used as a barbecue, stove, smoker, heater and has space to hold four roasting pans. - Kevin Allerston/NNSL photo

In the three years since David Giroux started Arctic Fire Stoves he said he has sold about 150 of his creations mostly in the southern NWT.

While he said he's sold fewer than 10 of his inventions in Yellowknife, he's feeling good about his business, including the sale of six small wood stoves to Mike Freeland, who operates Blachford Lake Lodge.

"I'm pretty happy. I'm content. I think people are pretty satisfied," Giroux said.

Because he is using salvaged materials and building them one at a time, each stove is one of a kind.

"I've sold stoves in Hay River, Hay River Reserve, Fort Smith, Trout Lake, Fort Simpson, Nahanni Butte, Fort Liard. I've even sold stoves in Nelson, B.C., I drove all the way down there," said Giroux.

Prices for the stoves range from $200 for the 25-gallon drum "Little Smokies" to $500 for the 45-gallon drum versions, dubbed "The Big Boy," which he said is his most popular item.

Giroux said since he started manufacturing his stoves he has added boiler inserts and Tidy Tanks to the list of salvaged materials he uses to make the stoves.

"I've got a couple (Tidy Tanks) here that are dome-shaped and they're 750-litre tanks, 167 gallons, and one's a 500-litre, 123 gallon tank, and the bigger one, I made it so you can put four turkey roasters in there," said Giroux.

He said his Tidy Tank model is able to contain four roasting pans in addition to the barbecue, stove, smoking and heating functions.

The stoves' versatility, said Giroux, is one of the main selling points.

"It's a multi-use stove. It's used for heat, oven, barbecue and smoker all in one," said Giroux.

Giroux has twice received $10,000 from the Business Development Investment Corp., once in 2009 to fix his truck so he could deliver his product and again in 2010 to help with marketing, which he used to pay a graphic design company to set up a website for Arctic Fire Stoves.

Giroux made his first stove about 10 years ago and said he always got a good response when people saw it.

"In the early 2000s I made a stove with a little barbecue box on top and people always walked by and complimented me on my stove. 'Oh, what a nice little stove you've got there,'" he said.

In 2009 he was looking for a way to earn money and decided to try making and selling stoves.

"I knew I had a nice design, but I was cautious to see if I was infringing on anybody's patent or copyright. So I did do a search in June or July of 2009 and looked around for firewood barbecue stoves and couldn't find any," he said.

Giroux said he applied to be on the television show Dragon's Den, but is a little nervous about what the experience would be like if he was accepted.

"They are pretty tough. They want to know all the finances down to the cent," he said.

He said ideally he would like to have wood stoves like his heating homes across the Northwest Territories as an inexpensive alternative to wood-pellet stoves because firewood is abundant in the NWT, whereas pellets have to be shipped in. However, before he can do that, he would have to get the green light from the Canadian Standards Association, which he hasn't sought yet.

"As I'm selling these stoves I am telling people that it's only for cabins, sheds, tents and teepees and stuff," he said.

He said he is also hoping to find a location in downtown Yellowknife from where he could sell his stoves.

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