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Episode 64: Renovating A Family Business with Don Richardson, of Arizona Fireplaces

Today Ted speaks with Don Richardson, founder of Arizona Fireplaces – a family business that has been operating for over 40 years.

Don shares the struggles he went through to help his business succeed through different economies, national events, and growth spurts. His success is grounded in his family values, and he’s proud to talk about his sons continuing his legacy for years to come.

Ted and Don cover how it all began and where it’s headed next. Join us as Don touches on innovation, hard work, and knowing when it’s time to transition.

Topics Discussed

  • [2:08] Marriage
  • [5:45] The people you never forget
  • [11:30] Innovation and the American Spirit
  • [16:45] Why winning all the time can be boring
  • [18:30] College football
  • [20:56] Starting a business during a recession
  • [24:45] How Arizona Fireplaces began
  • [26:15] Struggling through dark times
  • [31:00] Bringing the kids into the family business
  • [35:10] What have your children taught you?
  • [47:50] Get comfortable being uncomfortable
  • [52:30] What story do you tell to inspire people?
  • [56:35] Quality time remaining

Connect with Guest

Key Quotes from Episode

  • Well we can’t get the green tag on the framing final until that stupid fireplace guy installs the fireplace. Zero clearance fireplace, which is the last thing that goes in on a framing file. But they had no control. So I said why don’t we hook you up with the builder supply? Can we supply these? They were cheapy wood burners back then. Can we supply you the fireplace? We could pay for you. Get our framing final. That’s what created Arizona fireplaces. It’s the craziest silly story, but it’s the truth.
  • And so you really get into a dark spot, financially and even.  When you’re in the financial dark, spot it it affects you emotionally and you wake up two in the morning, sweating, not wanting the sun to come up. I mean, anyone who’s been in that position knows exactly what I’m thinking.
  • But those years I would have never– I would have lost forever and I wouldn’t even know about it, that I lost them, because I did. They wouldn’t have existed. So I looked back and I go, wow, that was a moment that I could have really messed things up. So right then, I said, ”You will never do something that would put us in a position to where I have to sacrifice my family and sacrifice my parenting.”

Arizona Fireplaces was founded in 1980 by Don & Deborah Richardson and remains privately owned and proudly based in Phoenix, Arizona. We evolved from our founding entity ‘Arizona Fasteners Corp’, serving the hardware needs of our local Phoenix home building community.