It was time to make a pilgrimage. After all, I sold products from Travis Industries for MANY years and they had visited my former shop many a time! In addition, they were one of the first sponsors of Hearth.com, having had the vision 10 years ago to see what the internet would become.
Kurt Rumens, President of Travis Industries
But we are getting ahead of ourselves here….the story of Travis Industries and their brands is a long one and one that, as large as the company has become, is based around PEOPLE. Yes, this stove company, like many others, started out as a dream in the mind of company President Kurt Rumens - a hard working former rock and roll drummer who had moved to the Pacific Northwest and was looking for a way to make an honest living. The dream took hold with his early employees - many who are still with the company today!
As in any industry, there are stories behind the stories and many of these are written only in the memories of industry insiders such as myself. But here are some tidbits:
1. Kurt and his team virtually invented the woodstove “look” that is so familiar today- that is the arched brass door. At the time, most other woodstoves had very boxy looks and little or no brass or glass, so this was a revolution in itself!
2. A good friend of mine and former industry consultant (the late Dan Melcon) worked for Lopi for many years, and often told stories of sleeping in his pickup truck in the parking lot of the small factory so he could paint more stoves and then sell them!
3. Travis Industries is somewhat famous in our industry for being fun loving. Just about any Travis dealer can tell you of exciting times when hundreds of successful dealers get together with the Travis crew for celebrations - usually after a hard day at the trade show or in dealer training.
An example of the “Lopi style
Well, that’s enough gossip for now…you want to hear and see what Travis Industries is TODAY - and the only problem that I might have is putting this into words! You see, they have just completely refitted a new plant which is 500,000 square feet and created what might be the be-all and end-all of stove factories. To say I was impressed is an understatement - but it was not the size that impressed me - it was the dedication to quality, safety, teamwork and imagination which was what pushed my buttons. As you go through the tour and read the captions, you’ll get a sense of what I am getting at. This is a company with a mission - in fact MANY missions, and it is actually making those missions a reality. This in itself is quite an accomplishment!
Enough of my BS….but one more caveat - pictures and captions cannot even start to tell the story of this enterprise - it’s one of those things that is too big to get your head around. With that in mind, I humbly present “A Taste of Travis Industries” and commend Kurt and his team on a job well done!
Larry Franchimon, one of the “Imagineers” and I in the Travis Lobby