Michael Rupp began in the hearth industry in 1975 as a chimney sweep and opened a retail store, Countryside Stove & Chimney, Inc. in 1979. After several years of successful retailing, he and his wife, Lois, had the opportunity to become the New York Distributor for Travis Industries, a stove manufacturer based out of Washington. Empire Distributing was formed in 1988. They welcomed the challenge and began with a dealer network of five stores. Today they have a solid dealer network of over a hundred dealers that they supply weekly with stoves, fireplaces, venting and accessories. In January 2001 they sold their retail business and have spent the last five years focused on distribution. Both of their sons, Jason and Jeremy, are now part owners of the business. Empire Distributing has just recently moved into their new 80,000 square foot warehouse.
With 25 years in hearth retailing, Michael realized the need for a more economical and timely way of constructing a chase when installing a fireplace. He has been working on the 10-Minute Chase since 2003 and received the patent in the fall of 2005. At the 2006 HPBA show in Salt Lake City, he introduced his endeavor to the hearth industry for the first time. The 10-Minute Chase was a huge hit! Michael was awarded the 2006 Hearth & Home Magazine Vesta Award for Venting & Ducting.
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