‘Twas the night before Christmas, when Ashbusters owner and founder, Mark Stoner (at the time just 14 years old) was enjoying some time with his family around the fire on Christmas Eve.
They opened a few presents and tossed the wrapping paper, cardboard, and bows into the fireplace — basically using their fireplace as an incinerator.
Hey, we’ve all done it. No big deal, right? Well, that Christmas Eve, Mark’s chimney caught fire.
The wrapping paper and cardboard produced a lot of heat and ignited the combustible buildup inside the chimney. The fire quickly spread into the attic, and the fire department had to come and put out the fire.
Thankfully, Mark’s house didn’t burn down, but it was quite a wake-up call for the family. Mark’s dad was in the insurance business and it made him realize that chimneys needed to be cleaned.
You see, nobody was really cleaning chimneys professionally at the time, so Mark’s family had never had theirs cleaned, and neither had their neighbors.
So what did Mark and his father do?
Well, they got a brush and some supplies and started cleaning the chimneys of family and some of Mark’s dad’s clients. They weren’t doing this as a business, but as a service to help out people in their community.
Fast forward four years. Mark was 18 and in a marketing class in college. As part of the course, each student had to create a mock business and market it.
Having recently read about the budding chimney sweep business, Mark thought, “Well, now I know about that. I know about the dangers of it. I know it’s needed. And you don’t have to have too much startup money to launch a business like that.”
So his mock business became a real business: Ashbusters. Now, Ashbusters is a 35-year-old business and the second largest chimney business in the U.S.
Mark was the first Master Chimney Sweep in Tennessee, he’s served as the President of the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), and he’s been one of the U.S. delegates representing the U.S. chimney industry in Europe for the last five years.
As a business, Ashbusters has received the following awards and accolades:
- 2018 & 2019 Top Workplaces (small businesses category) – Tennessean
- The BBB Torch Award – The Better Business Bureau’s top award for business ethics
- Angie’s List Super Service Award
- Best of Nashville – The Scene
We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and we’re Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified.
So, after all these years, what is it that keeps us working hard and serving Nashville and the surrounding areas with excellence? It’s our three-fold mission:
- To prevent chimney fires and deaths due to fireplace use. The safety of homeowners in our community is our top priority.
- To provide a great workplace and a culture of learning and helping for our employees. We want them to enjoy their profession and trade and take pride in the work they do.
- To be a service to the community. Fires themselves are very dangerous by nature, but people love fireplaces, and we want to make sure that those two opposing realities don’t result in a bad thing. We keep the fire you want from becoming the fire you don’t want.
And it all started one Christmas Eve, many years ago…