From humble beginnings, the culture inside Arizona Fireplaces and its related companies still remains the same. We conduct business and treat you based on family values, to always be willing to serve others, be honorable in all that we do and to always do the right thing. Whether large or small, these values cannot and will not change.
About Don Richardson
Don’s journey began selling gun nails, staples and framing hardware to the framing contractors – he literally revolutionized the use of nail guns, by initiating a standardized angle of 22 degrees of the nail strip, lowering the cost of gun nails to the framer. This standardized 22’ angle is still the standard used today. A true entrepreneur, Don realized there were more products that could be supplied to the construction industry during this framing stage. Because of his close ties with the top builders and the fact that house framing and fireplace installation occurs simultaneously, it was this natural (but not obvious) connection that helped push Arizona Fasteners Corp to quickly become better known as Arizona Fireplaces in the late ‘80’s. Don would quickly explain with a wink and a nod that it was sure convenient that he didn’t have to change the familiar AF Logo that originally stood for Arizona Fasteners when the name Arizona Fireplaces took center stage.
In these last forty years, Don, with his easy-going and pleasant personality, has continued to adapt his product offering that no matter what, always leads in innovation, technology, and style. So even here in Arizona with its hot, parched desert “fire” for comfort & beauty has found its niche! Anyone who knows Don will tell you that even at 65 years old, he is a hardworking, humble guy. Anyone is welcomed to stop by and say hi. Don still comes to work every day where he can be found in his office, on the sales floor or even sometimes driving a forklift in the warehouse – which terrorizes everyone!
About Debbie Richardson
Debbie Richardson, who was the driving force in starting Arizona Fireplaces with her husband Don in 1980, only begins to describe this well-balanced businesswoman, wife, mother of two and grandmother of 4. As she calls herself the CEO of the family now, she remembers the hard work it took to help start “something from nothing”. This included being a “one” person office manager while Don was out selling. This included answering phones, doing all the book-keeping/invoicing, driving the forklift, loading up trucks and of course, collecting money which was critical in the survival of this under-funded start up tiny business.
Debbie was born in Chicago, IL and moved out to Phoenix, AZ with her family during her high school years. She met her future husband Don at college while attending California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks California. Debbie was always athletic & played on the college tennis team. Later in her life, this passion for sports led to competing in marathons, triathlons and competed in two Ironman competitions.
Family is always the most important to Debbie. We are very lucky to have our two sons along with their two wonderful wives and four children who all live close by. We are part of all of their lives which is the most precious gift that God has given us.
Debbie is still active in the “strategy” of the future direction of the company even though she is not as involved in the day-to-day operations as she was in the past. She is proud of the fact that even with over 300 employees, the strong ethical values remain within the company’s culture.
Don and Debbie just celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary this past June 16th. Her daily priorities are being CEO of the family with whatever that might entail for the day, working out, spending time with her grandkids and looking after Don including getting him to take more vacations.
Life is good!