Not many people know Wonder Woman calls Bradford West Gwillimbury home.
Evette Chang is hard to miss with her bright blue hair, and she is also one of the driving forces behind Hearth, Water and Stone Inc., which recently opened in BWG.
She is a carpenter, stone mason, tile setter and is working on her gasfitting licence — but her business card simply says, “Wonder Woman.”
A person who can do all those jobs, run a business, raise five kids and two cats — “That’s Wonder Woman to me,” said Dale Hancock, Chang’s partner in life and business, who was the one who printed her business cards with that title.
Chang just laughs when asked about the moniker.
“Wonder Woman has been my idol from when I was very, very young. She was the first non-blonde superhero,” she said, adding that connected to her “oddball” personality.
“I enjoyed doing things that were not common for a girl. This has been much more rewarding to me,” she said.
Chang and Hancock opened Hearth, Water and Stone with business partner Agim Sherifi in time for Carrot Fest and had its grand opening this past weekend, which was attended by about 50 people, including York-Simcoe MPP Caroline Mulroney.
The store at 64 Holland St. E., Unit 5 is still under construction, with 19 different fireplaces being set up in the walls to create a showroom.
All of them will be turned on at the same time so people can see them in action, which means the air conditioning will be cranked at the store at all times to combat the heat.
Hearth, Water and Stone also sells air conditioning units, and has licensed employees who can service any HVAC and gas equipment, including barbecue lines, outdoor kitchens and fire tables, and it can build gazebos to go along with those items.
But its main focus is on fireplaces — direct vents, inserts, standalone stoves, and gas, electric and woodburning units.
It offers all types of fireplaces, from more traditional square units, to designer linear ones. Its brands include Montigo, Kingsman, Marquis, Pacific Energy, and Astria.
The idea is to give people a one-stop shop, from design and purchase, to installation and finish.
Customers can have a fireplace made custom and have all the work done for them, or they can select the materials they want and do the work themselves, with some how-tos from Chang, she said.
“I put the customers’ vision to work,” she said.
Their team will also never move ahead with plans for a fireplace without first seeing where it is going, said Hancock.
“Nothing’s worse than putting in a fireplace that’s not right for the location” or emits too much heat for a specific space, he said.
Chang and Hancock started the business four years ago doing general home renovations before being subcontracted by fireplace stores to build fireplaces, and they got hooked on that niche.
“You can see the satisfaction on the customers’ face. It’s a warm, homey feeling, compared to an industrial feeling (from installing a furnace, for example),” Hancock said.
“I like to do things that make an impact,” added Chang. “I like the finished product. It makes me happy.
Along with making customers happy, it is also a goal for Hearth, Water and Stone to help the community, especially the Helping Hand Food Bank, its local charity of choice.
It raised $250 for the food bank during Carrot Fest and another $100 during its grand opening, said Hancock, whose passion for charity comes from volunteering with the Salvation Army as a cook for homeless people in Toronto.
“Everyone needs a hand up sometimes,” he said.
Added Chang: “We’re in the community for the community.”
For more information about Hearth, Water and Stone Inc., call 905-775-0707, or visit the website or Facebook page.
Midweek Mugging is a weekly series profiling local businesses or interesting people in Bradford West Gwillimbury. Want to be featured? Email [email protected]