Moving to the 121 Mt Pleasant Road location in Newtown a year ago was the “best thing we could have done,” said Al Lutrus, who along with his son, Brad, owns Berkshire Hearth and Home, a source for hearth products for residential and commercial use. “Coming from Danbury gives us a chance to grow our business,” said Al.
The father/son team purchased the ongoing Danbury-based Berkshire Hearth and Home business in 2003. By 2011, they had outgrown that location and started seeking a new space. “We had the opportunity to move to Newtown, in this Mt Pleasant Road spot, and it’s been great,” said Al. After substantial renovations, Berkshire Hearth and Home opened in Newtown on September 1, 2012.
“We love the customer base here in Newtown, and the easy access right off of the highway is so much better [than our previous address],” said Brad.
Berkshire Hearth specializes in alternative heating sources, including wood stoves and wood stove inserts for fireplaces, pellet stoves and pellet stove inserts, and gas stoves and gas fireplaces.
“In today’s economy,” said Al, “people find they are spending thousands to heat the home. Oil prices don’t seem to come down. The wood, pellet, or gas alternative pays for itself in just a few years.”
Hardwood or softwood pellets run just under $300 per ton, with the average home using just over three tons of pellets in a heating season, said Al. Pellets for the burners are available by the bag or by the pallet, with delivery available in the Danbury-Newtown area.
“What I really love is that we are helping people, and helping them to save money,” said Brad. He and one staff member do nearly 100 new installations a year, as well as removals for renovation installations.
Berkshire Hearth carries stoves with a broad aesthetic appeal, from the very modern Italian Piazetta pellet stove or the compact Hwam wood stove from Denmark to the classic American cast iron stove design. The majority of the stoves and inserts that they carry, said Brad, are made in the United States or Canada. “The quality we offer is high. We believe you get what you pay for,” he said, including personal service and installation. “We’re here to take care of the customer,” said Brad.
As technology has improved, so has the efficiency and safety of gas, wood, and pellet stoves, explained Brad. EPA restrictions require any stove to burn cleanly, and better insulation means a safer product. “We do research on everything we sell,” he said with efficiency and safety top concerns for any product Berkshire Hearth and Home carries.
The upper level of the showroom is reserved for the line of gas fireplaces sold by Berkshire Hearth. Valor, Mendota, and Kozy Heat are the primary lines sold, offering consumers a wide selection of sizes and styles for the home or commercial space. Every maker offers a number of doors and fronts to customize the functional piece of the stove known as a firebox, so streamlining the product to suit the individual style is not a problem. Berkshire Hearth is also pleased to sell wood mantels by the Ohio Mt Vernon Mantel Company for framing the gas or wood fireboxes.
Customers can purchase gas logs, and a complete line of gas and charcoal grills and smokers, as well as any accessories for hearth products is carried at Berkshire Hearth and Home.
Decorative steel coal hods double as buckets for sweeping out ash from wood stoves, and an army of ornate fireplace tools fills the corner of one room. Long matches and match holders, fabric wood slings, and an array of wood chips for the grill or smoker can be found. Cleaning and protective products for stoves, fireplaces, or grills are lined up next to lava rocks and wood starters.
“Almost everyone who gets a pellet stove, gets an AshVac,” said Al, referring to a petite vacuum with a filter designed to capture the ultrafine ash that is the residue of burned pellets.
The ever more popular ceramic commode-style or “egg” grill by Grill Dome, available in two sizes, can be installed in a custom island, or set into a free standing cradle.
“We have sold a number of the Holland grills this past summer,” said Brad, a three-in-one cooker. “You can grill, smoke, or steam with the Holland,” he said, and an additional accessory allows the chef to sear meat perfectly.
Customers also seek the self-contained gas or wood burning fire pits for patio or backyard ambiance. Berkshire Hearth has found the propane-fueled fire table, with the flames enclosed in colored glass, attractive to customers.
Summertime can be slow in the heating business, so Berkshire Hearth has branched out to sell and install residential retractable awnings in the warmer months.
Al and Brad are happy to consult with customers and to explain the benefits of alternate heating sources. “Each customer has a different feeling for what they want, and a different need,” said Al.
“As a family business, we take pride in our service,” said Brad, “and the quality of stoves we sell.”
Berkshire Hearth and Home, 121 Mt Pleasant Road in Newtown, is open Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm; Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm; and Sundays by appointment. For additional information call 203-491-2009 or visit www.berkshirehearthandhome.com.