Josh Cate is #MadeForKnoxville.

Seeing the need for innovation in the chimney industry, Josh chose to embrace modern practices to build his own business. Now, his impact reaches beyond his customers’ homes and into the community.

As a chimney sweep, Josh saw an opportunity to modernize the chimney industry. When he found himself without a job, he decided to create his own chimney service that would embrace the future. For Josh, running a business is broader than providing an excellent service; he seeks to be a positive force in the community. Whether introducing electronic systems and lowering paper waste or supporting veterans in their healing journey, Josh sees his business successes as an opportunity to give back. Josh has worked hard to build a strong, customer-focused team at TN Fireplace & Chimney, and they were recognized with the Pinnacle Small Business Excellence Award in 2022.

“From humble beginnings to being recognized as a leader in our field, our commitment to excellence, innovation, and impact continues to drive us forward.”

In Their Own Words…

As the founder and CEO of TN Fireplace & Chimney, I am proud of the journey that our company has taken since its inception in 2008. Our unwavering commitment to excellence and making a positive impact has been the driving force behind our success.

I still remember the day I was let go from my job as a chimney sweep. It wasn’t something I had planned for or aspired to be, but it was an opportunity for me to make a difference in the industry. I saw how the chimney industry operated and I knew I could make it better. That’s when I decided to start my own company.

With TN Fireplace & Chimney, I set out to modernize the chimney industry. One of the first things I did was add cameras for video inspections. This allowed our customers to see their chimneys and fireplaces in real-time, giving them a clear understanding of any issues and allowing us to walk them through the solutions. This innovation was well-received by our customers and set us apart from other chimney service providers.

I was determined to provide not just excellent service, but also to make a positive impact in the lives of our customers. I believed that a fireplace was not just a functional element in a home, but also a place where families create memories. Our team at TN Fireplace & Chimney embraced this philosophy, and we strived to make every fireplace and chimney we worked on safe, efficient, and a source of warmth and joy for families.

Over the years, our commitment to excellence and impact has paid off. Our company grew steadily, and we were honored to receive the Small Business of the Year Award in 2022. But our success was not just measured by our financial achievements. It was also about the difference we made in our community.

At TN Fireplace & Chimney, we believe in investing in our team and giving back to our community. We implemented educational and enrichment programs for our employees, supported veteran’s healing initiatives, and contributed to local and global disaster response efforts. Seeing the positive impact we were able to make beyond just our day-to-day operations fueled our drive to do even better.

Looking back at how far we’ve come, I am proud of the team we have built at TN Fireplace & Chimney and the difference we have made in the chimney industry and our community. From humble beginnings to being recognized as a leader in our field, our commitment to excellence, innovation, and impact continues to drive us forward. I am grateful for the opportunity to have turned my passion into a successful business that makes a positive difference in the lives of our customers and our team.

What led to entrepreneurship:

My “big pivot” moment that led to entrepreneurship came from observing how other chimney companies and fireplace stores operated. I noticed that many of them had limited vision and were stuck in outdated practices. This gave me a clear idea of what not to do and provided a foundation for what I wanted to achieve with my own company. I was determined to create a modern chimney company that embraced innovation and efficiency.

One of the first changes I made was to eliminate carbon copy invoices and transition to electronic systems. I wanted to streamline our processes and reduce paper waste, while also improving accuracy and convenience for our customers. This was a significant shift from traditional practices in the industry, but I believed it was necessary to stay ahead of the competition and provide a better experience for our clients.

Another pivotal moment for me personally was when I turned 30. It was a milestone that made me reflect on my goals and aspirations for the future. I knew I wanted more out of life and realized that scaling my business was the path to achieve it. This realization fueled my determination to grow my company and take it to new heights.

I was motivated by the desire to create a chimney company that stood out from the rest, one that was innovative, efficient, and customer-centric. I knew that embracing modern practices, such as electronic systems and being environmentally conscious, would not only set us apart but also position us for long-term success. This “big pivot” moment and my unwavering commitment to my vision have been the driving force behind my entrepreneurship journey and have shaped the direction and success of my company, TN Fireplace & Chimney.

Lessons learned:

As an entrepreneur, I have learned many valuable lessons throughout my journey of owning and growing TN Fireplace & Chimney. However, the biggest lesson I have learned is the importance of adaptability and resilience. The business landscape is constantly changing, and being able to pivot, adjust, and overcome challenges is essential for success.

One of the key lessons I learned is that failure is a part of the entrepreneurial process. Not every decision or venture will be successful, and it’s important to view failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. I learned to embrace failure as a valuable lesson and not be afraid to take calculated risks, even if they don’t always yield the desired results. Each setback has taught me valuable insights and has helped me make better-informed decisions in the future.

Another crucial lesson I learned is the importance of building a strong team. Surrounding myself with talented and dedicated individuals who share my vision and values has been critical to the success of my business. I realized that I cannot do everything on my own and that delegation and collaboration are crucial for scaling and growing the company. Building a supportive team has allowed me to focus on my strengths and has elevated the overall performance and productivity of the company.

Lastly, I learned the significance of customer satisfaction and relationship-building. Satisfied customers are more likely to become repeat customers and refer others to our business. I have learned to prioritize excellent customer service, actively listen to customer feedback, and continuously strive to exceed their expectations. Building and maintaining strong relationships with our customers has not only helped us establish a loyal customer base but has also contributed to positive word-of-mouth marketing and business growth.

In conclusion, the biggest lesson I have learned as an entrepreneur is to be adaptable and resilient, embrace failure as a learning opportunity, build a strong team, and prioritize customer satisfaction. These lessons have been invaluable in navigating the challenges and uncertainties of entrepreneurship and have played a significant role in the success of TN Fireplace & Chimney.


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