From small beginnings, Kernow Fires is now one of the leading fireplace retailers in the south west, warming homes all over the county and beyond.
Kernow Fires owner Simon Breckon had no idea about the company he was going to build when he joined his father in business in 1998. His father owned a local coal business and they both saw potential in the growing trend for woodburners. In an effort to keep warm, Simon installed a fire stove in the office and so the first Kernow Fires showroom was born.
“When I joined the business it was really slow and the first few years were pretty tough,” says Simon. After his father retired, Simon bought the rest of the company from him. “We’ve worked really hard on it for the last 18 years and here we are today in a very different scenario. But I still consider the team to be family,” Simon continues. He attributes a lot of his success to his team and the fact that they are always striving to be better today than they were yesterday.
The company has come a long way and is now a market leader, supplying and installing the best brands of fires available in the UK and Europe. With the addition of a second fireplace showroom in Redruth in 2014 and five teams of installers, over 25 employees are helping to drive the company and continue its expansion with a biomass showroom and installation service systems. Most recently, growth has come in the form of the incorporation of Kernow Metals into the company and the addition of skilled metal-worker, Jamie Whitelaw.
Training has been paramount to the success of Kernow Fires, including apprenticeships for office staff and installers, product training for all staff as well as specific marketing, management and self-development training for individual members of the team. Installation Manager Ross benefitted greatly from various courses. His knowledge of fires, fitting and chimneys is second to none and, with the benefit of in-depth management training courses, he manages the five teams of installers as well as liaising with builders and architects, aiding the building and design process for larger builds. “Simon’s focus on training has been really beneficial for the business and for us on a personal level. You can see the improved confidence and results, and we are really behind continuing training on different aspects of the business as we develop,” says Ross.
Dave, the owner of Kernow Metals, was looking to retire and Simon has always had a brilliant working relationship with Dave, the pair working together to produce all the bespoke frames and technical parts for fireplaces. Simon saw an opportunity not to be missed and, in Jamie, he’s found someone who is able to work alongside Dave, learning all his tricks and bringing a whole new range of skills to the table. Jamie has worked on a variety of projects and film sets and has made a name for himself, creating large, bespoke pieces for private clients in the south east. He’s excited to be joining the Kernow Fires team and is keen to get to work!
Simon’s enthusiasm for all things Kernow Fires, as well as its advertising campaigns, which feature only fireplaces installed by the company’s own fitters and creative images taken by the team, has got Kernow Fires noticed by other Cornish companies, including local fish suppliers Fish for Thought who approached Simon and Jane, Simon’s business partner, to star in ‘Talk On the Wildside’, a film produced for their YouTube channel. Filming took place at Simon and Jane’s home, where their stunning patio is set up and ready to go with a Big Green Egg – an impressive, outdoor ceramic grill – a bespoke outdoor fireplace, and an enamelled metal table, all from the Kernow Fires range.
New, carefully-selected products are always coming into the Kernow Fires showrooms, which is exciting for everyone. To keep up with news from Kernow Fires, check out its social media or visit one of the shops.
Kernow Fires & Biomass
Unit 2 Trenant Industrial Estate, Wadebridge PL27 6HB
Wilson Way, Redruth TR15 3RX