Gary Yates founded Chimney Sweep in 2013 as a small startup while he was working full-time as an insurance agent. As the business grew, he decided to focus on this niche market full time in 2016. Like other entrepreneurs, he encountered many obstacles, faced challenges head on and developed his company into what it is today. From offering just one service initially, his business continues to expand and now offers a wide variety of chimney sweep services to his clients.

“When I really started seeking mentorship, I reached out to Annette at the Center for Entrepreneurship as well as other chimney service colleagues. I think all of those relationships that we develop help to grow our business properly.” said Gary.

One of the biggest challenges for Gary during the pandemic was service cancellations at the beginning of the pandemic. 

“There was so much uncertainty, and  everyone was afraid to have service people come inside their homes,” Gary said. 

As the pandemic continued however, people soon realized the various repair projects that needed to be done around their homes,  boosting the demand for chimney services.

Gary is a fierce advocate of proper maintenance, service and safety, as well as educating his customers about how critically important chimney maintenance and care is. He holds a Certified Chimney Sweep designation by the Chimney Safety Institute of America and is actively involved with the National Chimney Sweep Guild, Midwest Chimney Safety Council and the Saint Joseph Chamber of Commerce. 

Business has continued to grow, even during the pandemic. By focusing on safety and education, business has flourished, and he has been able to expand and hire full-time staff.