Marty Pearson has been a mason for more than 35 years, and has never looked back. He now runs Stone Comfort Fireplace Gallery in Plainville and lives and operates out of Norfolk.
He says one of the interesting aspects about his current gig, which is doing general contract work and selling Russian-style stone fireplaces, or masonry heaters, is the amount of travel he gets to do.
Pearson said he travels all over New England, mostly for the wood stove installations. Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Nantucket and Block Island, he’s been all over the place.
“Every stove goes in a different location,” he said. “Last time I traveled, I went to Wisconsin.”
He said his favorite part of the job is just getting the word out about the efficiency and green aspect of the stoves.
“I haven’t burned oil in my house for three years now,” he said. “The people putting them in, they want to heat their house the green way. You only burn two cords of wood a year. It’s super clean burning, you only burn really hot and particulate emissions are way down.”
Pearson said he actually became a dealer for the stoves in 1988 when he was building his own house.
“I went to be a dealer to get my own stone cheap,” he said. “I wasn’t intending to do it for long, but I ended up doing it for 20 some odd years now.”
He said the one thing that gets to him are old-style wood stoves. He said he’s always had wood stove heating, and remembers spending a lot of time chopping wood.
Pearson added that getting up in the middle of the night to feed the fire wasn't his idea of good time management. He said in these stoves, three hours of burning, will heat an entire house for 24 hours.
“We used to go through six or seven chords in the wood stove,” he said.
He said the stoves work on the same principal of bed-warming stones people put near a fireplace to keep their mattresses nice and toasty, and slowly distributes the heat across a much larger area.
Pearson said he started his career as an electrician with his father, but it wasn’t the line of work for him.
“By the time I was 16, I’d been doing it for 10 years and was sick of it,” he said.
Pearson said he then went to carpentry, so that, in his words, he never had to hire someone to build his house. He then started laboring as a mason and working for many other people before starting his own contracting business.
“They shared their knowledge with me,” he said. “The worst thing you can do is start your own business sand not work for anyone else. But after a while of working for three dollars an hour, you say what am I doing this for.”