At a time in which energy insecurity is becoming a bigger and bigger problem, with many low-income households unable to pay their energy bill, alternative energy sources like firewood, are becoming increasingly important. Access to household energy is becoming problematic for communities affected by the rise in the number of extreme weather events as a result of the evolution of climate change. Firewood is not just used to avert problems with access to household energy, for many people, it allows them to connect with the past and with tradition. There is something about the crackling of firewood as its heat warms a room, to stir the soul. It’s not surprising that many companies have risen to sell firewood to communities. What is surprising is that even young children are getting in on the act. The Lincoln County News ran a fascinating piece in which they discuss a firewood-selling business led by two 7-year old boys, Zachary Hoppe and Ryan Parson. Let’s discuss that piece.
Zachary and Ryan are best friends who live in Lincoln County, Maine, which, according to the 2010 census, has a population of 34,457. The two friends set up their business on 77 Biscay Road, Damariscotta, just five minutes off from Lake Pemaquid Campground.
The business was opened this summer and sales of firewood have really taken off, according to the newspaper. Open on Memorial Day, with help from Jessica and Dennis Hoppe, who happen to be, not just Zachary’s parents but Ryan’s grandparents too. The boys expect to be open right through Labor Day.
The boys seem to relish all aspects of the business. Jessica recounts how they helped Dennis to split the firewood into its correct proportions, lay it out to dry and tie it up into bundles for sale. Each generation often worries about the children coming after it, but the boys are evidence that the kids are, after all, alright.
So where did they get all this firewood, you’re wondering? Well, a lot of it seems to come from the leftovers from clear cutting and trimming. They gather it up in the area surrounding Denni’s property, which lies adjacent to his business. Using materials that Dennis already had, he held them to erect a woodshed they could use for their business.
Every investor knows that the best business is one that requires little to no invested capital to set up and which spits out profits in ever growing numbers. According to Jessica, the only real cost of setting up the business was time. Jessica and Dennis believe that setting up this business will teach the boys how to manage money, and to be resourceful and entrepreneurial. These are qualities that are largely not taught in schools.
This early education selling kiln dried firewood was possible because the boys have always been hardworking and prudent about their money. Zachary says that in his seven years, he has only spent $75, money which he earned shovelling snow outside Dennis’ business, Quickturn Auto Repair & Towing, or helping with yard work. Jessica and Dennis can be proud that the boys have turned out so well.