Solo Stove based in Southlake

Solo Stove.  If you don’t have one, you more than likely know a friend who does.  If you love outdoor fires but aren’t a fan of the smoke, the Solo Stove is a perfect fit. Here in Texas, we love us a campfire, and Solo Stove has really been setting this sector on fire! This unique campfire – the Solo Stove – was designed to burn more efficiently, thus using less fuel and burning with less smoke. They have a sleek, clean contemporary design that fits almost any architecture.

How was this new concept developed? Brothers Jeff and Spencer Jan and their young families were living far apart—Texas and Shanghai, specifically—and decided to start a business together to be closer. A lot closer, as it turns out – in 2010, they started working on their original lone product, an ultralight camping stove banged out in Jeff’s garage. And from here, the business took off – like fire, and Solo Stove was born out of the concept that getting outdoors should be simple.

Solo Brands, the Southlake, Texas-based holding company announced in early September, the formation of the holding company following acquisitions by Solo Stove. Solo Brand’s acquisition of men’s outdoor apparel brand Chubbies Shorts, followed Solo’s acquisition of Oru Kayak and paddleboard maker ISLE.

At the helm is John Merris – CEO, one of Southlake’s own. John served as CEO of Solo Stove from 2018 to 2021 and took on the role of CEO of Solo Brands at the beginning of 2022. While CEO of Solo Stove, he led the successes of several departments, from Marketing, Sales, Community Support, Product Development, and more. These teams have worked in the development and communication of our product line, which is made up of Fire Pits, Camp Stoves, and Grills. Using patented airflow technology, Solo Stove has helped make it easy for people to reconnect with each other in the outdoors around smokeless fires. 

The recently opening of its new, state-of-the-art headquarters, flagship showroom, and fulfillment center in Grapevine, Texas. At 430,000 sq ft, it more than doubles their previous space.  This location at 1001 Mustang Drive will be home to 110 Solo Brands and Solo Stove employees, with the ability to grow to 300+ employees.

When thinking about Solo Stove’s new headquarters and what it should look like, we began thinking of where the owners use a Solo Stove – the backyard, the deck, the porch, a tailgate, and of course camping. With that in mind, we wanted the headquarters to emulate and reflect these environments. Therefore, we used these environments to inspire the design direction.  We also wanted the materials in the space to complement the modern industrial design of the Solo Stove, choosing industrial materials like cedar timbers, corrugated steel panels, concrete, and standing seam metal roofs to do this. 

A unique design we went with is the “dog-trot” style house (a house with a wide breezeway that connects two enclosed living areas) that contains two meeting rooms. The “dog-trot” reminds Texans of those brave and determined settlers who had to every ounce of their skills and creativity to scratch out a home and life in Texas, much like the origins of Solo Stove. We also wanted to compliment the style of the Solo Stove. We did so in two ways. First, the use of “ring” light fixtures in the break area. Second, the strategic use of Solo Stove orange in the “clouds” and in strategic doorways. 

I need to talk about the retail area. This was a lot of fun. The retail area was designed to present the different Solo stoves in a variety of different settings that the owners use including a backpacking setting, a camping setting, a beach, tailgating, and a camper. These different settings encircle a life-size “A-frame” building sitting on a circular wood deck. The showroom is approximately 10,000 sqft and is open to the public.

The biggest challenge we had to overcome was the 40″+ clear height of the building. How does one create a comfortable work environment in such a cavernous space? The obvious answer is to install a lay-in ceiling at a height that is comfortable. However, we chose to embrace the vastness of the space and use it to our advantage. This allowed ENTOS (our design firm) to create a cityscape type of feel within the space where the boardroom has its own roof and the offices their own storefront feel. It also allowed us to suspend lighting in different ways and heights, creating clouds that not only “lowered” the roof but also served to support lighting and acoustical baffles.  

All other challenges were minor and were offset by the trust that John Merris placed in the ENTOS design team. He truly empowered ENTOS by giving us the freedom to dream and create. I was excited to have this kind of freedom and took every opportunity to create a space that John and Solo Stove employees would be proud of. To be honest, I did not think we would end up building everything we designed but he liked everything and he chose to do it all.

Fun Facts:

  • At the end of 2021, Solo Stove was fortunate to reach our millionth customer. 
  • At the end of 2021, we sold over 641k fire pits.
  • The weirdest place one of our fire pits may have been used is on an ice-skating rink!

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