By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes
Truth be told, Jerry Long wasn’t a fan of wood stoves as a child.
Want to guess what the 63-year-old U.S. Army veteran does for a living these days?
Long, who retired from federal service in 1990, purchased the former Mel’s Stoves and Spas from Melvin Bitikofer in December 2010 and has since renamed it ABB Stoves Hearth and Home. In April, Long and wife Chong moved the business from Edgewater Street in Salem to 3800 River Road North in Keizer.
“I hated wood stoves growing up,” Long said. “But they are the best producer of heat. Wood heats from the inside-out. Now I love it.”
Long was motivated to buy the store after being an unsatisfied customer. He immediately became focused on providing the level of customer service he hadn’t gotten.
“I talk to people and I stand behind what I tell them,” Long said. “Your business is as good as your word.”
When he moved the store to Keizer, Long was surprised the city didn’t already have a stove store.
“This is a nicer place,” he said of his current store location. “We’re doing quite well. People are finding us and we’re getting new customers. The traffic count is fantastic. Keizer is still growing and we want to grow with it.”
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