Grates & Grills
In 1975, Frank Rymdeika put a wood-burning fireplace in his home, but he looked high and low locally for the accessories he needed. They were not to be had–which sparked an idea. Why not open his own fireplace store in the tiny borough of Dublin in Bucks County?
Since that time, Rymdeika and his family have been helping people stay toasty-warm by supplying stoves, fireplace inserts and a myriad of other items related to heating and fireplaces. Today, at age 82, Frank is still active in the business, but his family (sons Tom and Dan, daughter Diane and grandson Max) have taken over the day-to-day running of the business. Even 11-year-old granddaughter Kate helps out on Saturdays running the credit card machine. The store on Main Street (Rt. 313) has an amazing inventory.
Grates and Grills (G&G) does not install the many stoves they carry, but they have installers who will. What they offer is choice, choice and more choice. I have visited several similar businesses over the years, but have never seen so many heat-related products together in one location. “Dad always said we should stock what we sell,” Dan explains. With four warehouses and a large retail store, chances are if you buy it, you can take it with you or have it delivered within days.
Walk into the store and you’re greeted with a large display of tool sets – brass and wrought iron – in many sizes and styles. Shelves hold an extensive collection of steamers that, filled with water and placed on top of wood and coal stoves, replace lost humidity. Wander further along and you’ll find a large display of glass fireplace enclosures. These can be closed while the damper is open to prevent heat loss and allow the fire to safely burn while homeowners retire for the night. G&G stocks more than 2,000 of these in designs that range from traditional to ultra-modern. Custom glass doors can be ordered for arched or unusually-shaped fireplaces as well. G&G does its own door installations.
Screens are another important fireplace accessory that keeps sparks from escaping. G&G has more than 1,000 freestanding screens in stock in a variety of styles, finishes and sizes. Another interesting accessory that you may not find everywhere is a fireback. These are cast iron uprights that stand against the back wall of the fireplace. They not only add a decorative touch (in many designs), but they also radiate the heat of the fire forward into the room. They work for both wood fires and gas logs.
Moving on to the main event – stoves – G&G carries free-standing gas stoves by Vermont Castings in either natural gas or propane. Types include the Radiance (the largest) that can heat up to 1,500 square feet with 40,000 BTUs and the Stardance (the smallest) with 30,000 BTU input.
When it comes to wood stoves, they carry six models of Vermont Castings, Dutchwest Federal convection heaters and the Harman Exception. The Vermont Castings stoves range in output from 24,000 to 55,000 to suit any home situation, while the Dutchwest Federal has a convection system that spreads heat. These are not your father’s wood-burning stoves. They burn much cleaner and more economically. G&G also carries
WinterWarm Fireplace inserts that fit into an existing fireplace, turning it into a more efficient heat source than an open hearth.
Want a coal stove? They carry the Harmon line. According to Frank, coal stoves provide steady heat for longer periods, with less tending than wood stoves. One was cranking out lots of warmth in the front of the store on the day I visited.
Wood holders, andirons, hearth rugs, electric logs, gas logs and inserts, hand-made bellows, match holders, candle holders, door wedges and, of course, grates for wood…they’re all here. There are even several styles of decorative crickets for your hearth. Everywhere you look, you’ll find something to catch your eye and fire your imagination.
When the days grow longer and warmer and people head outdoors, G&G has grills and smokers – even freestanding fire pits – to make your summer more fun. Dan showed me some huge Fire Magic grills that made my jaw drop. “We carry everything from $200 portable grills up to big units that can cost more than $10,000,” he says. One with a 48” x 22” cooking area he dubbed “the Cadillac of grills.” Others come built into their own islands, while newer models offer charcoal and gas in one unit. A word of caution for people building outdoor kitchens with built-in grills: Make sure you buy good quality units for longevity as it will be impossible to replace them if they fail. G&G carries 10 different brands of grills and smokers.
As I was leaving, I stopped for a few more words with Frank. He says one of the biggest problems a local retailer like Grates and Grills faces today is the Internet. “People will shop here, then order online,” he explains. But what you miss by shopping this way is the knowledge and variety of products you find at G&G, along with a friendly family atmosphere. And, after the sale, if something needs attention, who are you going to call? “We service what we sell,” Frank explains, as he’s been doing since 1975.
Grates and Grills, Inc.
105 South Main Street, Rt. 313
Dublin, PA 18917