Business Profile
Past Issues:

The Family that Grills Together Stays Together

Classic Fireplace and BBQ Store is part of a family business like no other! The Malcolms (6 siblings in total, which include Josh, owner of the Queen Street store) independently own and operate 10 “hearth and BBQ” stores in the greater Toronto area. It all began with their father, David, almost 40 years ago, who went in search of a wood stove.

In the early 1980s, when David Malcolm worked at a General Motors in the Toronto area, he decided he wanted a wood stove. So, he travelled to Barrie where he’d heard that someone was making a new kind of cast iron and ceramic stove at a company called “Napoleon.” David ended up buying 3 stoves that day; he installed his own and sold the others right off his truck. Before long, he’d quit his job and had started his own retail fireplace in his garage.

Today, David’s son Josh, can’t remember a time when his life wasn’t connected to his father’s work. He accompanied his father on sales and service calls as a young boy. By the time he was 17, he had his installation license and was working with the installation and service crews. After graduating from mechanical engineering at Western University, he returned to help his father out. At the same time, the Classic Fireplace store came up for sale. With help from his dad, Josh bought the store in 2003, and in 2005, purchased the current store in the Toronto Beach area.

“Josh is just a great guy,” says Cliff Harris, store manager at Classic Fireplace. “He’s smart and I really

like the way he treats people, both the staff at the store and the customers. It’s a joy to work with him.”

Cliff has worked at the store 15 years, referring to himself as the BBQ guy. But in the winter, the main products sold are fireplaces and inserts. “In older Toronto homes,” explains Cliff, “many replace an old wood burning fireplace with a direct vent fireplace because of the ‘zero clearance’ feature. Instead of drawing in air already heated from inside the home, the fireplace pulls air from the outside. It’s way more efficient.” 

Cliff also notes that condo dwellers can’t install a gas fireplace, so they opt for an electric one. ‘The horizontal models’ are particularly popular today.” All of them add great ambiance to a room in addition to some heat.

During the summer, however, it’s all about BBQs. Napoleon (of course!), the Prestige series, Rogue, and the Big Green Egg smoker/grill.  For those who want to travel and grill, there’s even a portable grill that can be carried like a suitcase.

When asked about his favourite meat to grill, Cliff doesn’t hesitate, “Pork tenderloin.” But he also advises rotisserie chicken for easy outdoor entertaining. “Just put two of them on the spit for a little over an hour,” he says, “While you’re enjoying your guests, dinner cooks itself and tastes spectacular!

Classic Fireplace & BBQ Store
1828 Queen St. E.
416-698-3473 | classicfireplace.ca