Startup business founder Hunter Guerin likes to say he has a enthusiasm for hearth.
When he and his wife moved from Washington, D.C., to the Richmond location in 2020, they received a property with a hearth and an outside hearth pit. A mechanical engineer by instruction, Hunter Guerin even designed a wood-fired pizza oven at their home.
“I am obsessed with fireplace, which is one reason I began a firewood company,” Guerin reported. “I was attempting to get firewood, but it can be hard to locate a dependable offer.”
“It was just so tricky to find steady suppliers who could produce dried, seasoned or kiln-dried wood,” he reported. “I have lived in Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia and D.C., and that trouble has followed me close to just about everywhere.”
“I wanted to make obtaining fantastic firewood genuinely quick,” he stated.
People today are also reading…
So Guerin founded Llamawood, an on line market at llamawood.com the place home owners and business entrepreneurs can get kiln-dried firewood for shipping and delivery on demand, along with mulch.
“It is kind of like Uber for firewood,” Guerin reported.
“Llamawood is a two-sided market,” he stated. “We have suppliers, and we have prospects. We get in touch with it a managed marketplace due to the fact clients invest in from Llamawood and then people work get posted out to a supplier board, and the suppliers generally pick which ones they want to do.”
Considering the fact that Guerin founded the startup firm past year, shoppers utilizing the Llamawood marketplace have integrated property owners in the Richmond spot as well as firms that use firewood for cooking.
One particular purchaser is Cocodrilo, a Latin-themed cafe on Grove Avenue that utilizes wood-fired ovens to cook dinner these types of dishes as citrus rooster, lobster enchilada, steak and duck.
“We need to have to have quality wood every single day right here,” claimed co-proprietor and chef Brandon MacConnell. “Without quality wooden, we are up the creek right before we get started.”
By using the Llamawood service, the restaurant has been ready to be certain it will get a consistent provide of high quality wood, he reported. The cafe goes via about 2,000 lbs . of wooden a 7 days.
“We are primarily applying white oak now, but from time to time we get distinct blends in. It is exciting to experiment and get various flavors,” MacConnell explained.
Cocodrilo received a supply a short while ago from 5 Star Firewood, a family-owned firewood provider that has a wood processing garden in Midland that makes kiln-dried and packaged firewood.
“Llamawood offers us a whole lot of sources to get additional orders and not have to do a large amount of advertising and marketing,” said Daniel Papuga, who manages operations for the company owned by his family. “It takes on a good deal of the administrative operate we would in any other case have to do speaking with consumers. It facilitates that approach for us at little price tag. We distribute a good deal here in Richmond and also in the Washington, D.C., place.”
Guerin stated he has 15 suppliers in the community now.
“One of my major uses was to assist clients locate dried firewood, but after I started constructing up this community and functioning with these tiny-small business proprietors, I turned equally passionate about encouraging these organizations improve,” he stated. “The marketplace desires support on both sides, so I hope Llamawood is equipped to enable a large amount of small firms in Virginia.”
Fire pit and wood-fired oven revenue have amplified for the duration of the pandemic, Guerin said.
“We have noticed an uptick in sales because the start off of the pandemic,” explained Miles Clarkson, founder and operator of Burly Fireplace Pits, a nearby fireplace pit maker. “Many of our suppliers saw their fire pit and grill organization double or even triple about the past couple decades.
“Everyone started off investing much more time closer to dwelling and used their time enjoying their out of doors living place with spouse and children and friends — frequently, all around a fire pit,” Clarkson mentioned.
Guerin has a diploma in mechanical engineering, and he labored as an engineer for 10 many years prior to joining a startup organization in Washington, D.C., that delivers on-demand from customers production for suppliers. “I observed how considerably efficiency it brought to that marketplace,” he claimed.
“We genuinely just fell in adore with Richmond,” Guerin said of his family’s transfer. “My spouse and I have been the two working remotely for businesses in D.C. It was a lifestyle conclusion and almost nothing else, and it has been a blessing.”
“I was speaking to some folks right here in Richmond about how I could use the competencies I designed operating in engineering and on the web marketplaces alongside with my enthusiasm for firewood,” he mentioned.
“I turned ingrained in the Richmond startup DNA,” he reported.
Llamawood was a member of the spring 2022 cohort of Lighthouse Labs, a Richmond-dependent nonprofit that presents mentoring, business progress education, and equity-absolutely free cash investments to startup organizations.
“It was interesting to get the job done with Hunter through his time with Lighthouse Labs. His passion for Llamawood and the Richmond group is contagious,” said Glenna Croy, 1 of his mentors at Lighthouse Labs. “It was incredible to see Hunter’s perseverance to the buyer practical experience, no matter if it was a restaurant purchasing multiple cords of wooden or a little household stocking up on firewood for the summer, he would constantly make confident they experienced the best caliber of wooden shipped just on time … even if that meant him running out and offering the wooden himself.”
At Lighthouse Labs Demo Day, 9 firms pitched their ideas to an viewers of 150, and Llamawood received the admirer favourite.
As element of the prize, “I obtained to toss the initially pitch at a Flying Squirrels sport against the Altoona Curves,” Guerin said. “I [had] my daughter in the Ergo newborn carrier. It was tremendous entertaining.”
With Llamawood delivering to eating places, campgrounds and people today in Richmond and locations across the state, Guerin said, the small business is continuing to prosper.