A recent international stove-design competition, held last month in Washington, D.C. gave a local stovemaker the People’s Choice award from Popular Mechanics. The competition challenged stovemakers to make a cleaner, more efficient stove that is easy to operate as well as appealing to consumers, something that Travis Industries mastered long ago. One of their flagship stoves, the Cape Cod, burns with 86 percent efficiency, and emits only .46 grams of emissions per hour, less than Washington State’s stricter standard by 10 times, and about 16 times less than the federal average.
Travis Industries, the company behind Avalon, Lopi, and several other stove families, is notable not merely for their fuel-efficient stoves with beautiful visual appeal – the company is the third-largest employer in Mukilteo, behind Boeing and the Mukilteo school district. At 400 employees, they will not overtake Boeing soon, but the size of the company also means that Kurt Rumens, president of Travis Industries, can keep a simple rule in place: any employee with an idea can bring it to him.
The company now holds over 150 patents, and uses advanced technology (including robot welders) to keep their products competitive in price with overseas manufacturers. The company also allows a high degree of buyer customisation of their stoves, to match the style of almost any house. Between that and the power of the stoves, some of which can heat homes up to 2,500 square feet, the stoves are appealing world-wide; Travis Industries has dealers in the US, Canada, Australia, and Japan. And business is booming – Travis Industries is heading for its best year since 2008.