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About Forden's

Our Story

In the late 1800s, Italian immigrant, George Isola made his way to San Luis Obispo after sailing from Genoa, Italy to California. He then made a living in the small town of just 3,000 people by owning and operating a couple businesses — one of which was a hardware shop. In 1939, at age 77 and ready to retire, Isola sold his hardware store to his valued employee, Stanton Forden, who then renamed and reopened what we know now as Forden’s. 

Forden's 1939 Storefront

Fordn's SLO 1939 Storefront

Stan Forden (left) at Forden's

Stan Forden 1939 store

Thriving off a growing population, new settlements, and the local agricultural industries of the era, the trusted, downtown shop could be reached by calling their phone number, just three digits: 273. In 1950, Forden moved the business from its original location on Chorro Street to a building on Monterey Street. Built in 1926 in a quick 90 days, this downtown location has housed Forden’s for over 60 years. 


In the 1970s, the business was under new ownership again, this time belonging to Robert Vasquez. Large, chain retailers were beginning to dominate the market of hardware and tool sales so, Vasquez decided to shift the company’s focus to kitchenware, gifts, and hearth products. 

This local legacy was carried on by the purchase of the company by Dean Moore and Gary Smee in 1989. Purchased as a way to pass down a living to his sons, Moore and Smee co-own and operate the company with two of Moore’s sons.


Today, Forden’s family-owned fireplace shop focuses exclusively on the selling and installation of fireplaces, hearth products, and heating devices. Our team of highly trained and knowledgeable staff lives out the company’s commitment to friendly, personal customer service. A proud staple in trusted home improvement, Forden’s is valued for quality of products, expertise, and a deep-rooted history in San Luis Obispo County.

Gary Smee & Dean Moore, owners since 1989

Smee Moore Fordens 1989 owners

Forden's Monterey St. storefront in 2018

Fordens downtown slo

After 80 years, Forden's moved away from Monterey St. to a new, large, and stunning showroom and warehouse location off Sacramento Dr. in San Luis Obispo. This allowed for the company to expand its showcase both indoors and out with an expanded patio used for product demonstrations with several BBQ and pizza oven lines as well as uniting the entire staff under one roof.

The following summer, Forden's expanded again by offering a second location in opening a new storefront in Templeton, California.

Our goal is to serve our customers well and we have built a knowledgeable staff to assist you. We enjoy working with homeowners, contractors, and interior designers to find the best option for your project.


We look forward to continued growth in the future which shouldn't be difficult! Between our owners, we have 14 children and grandchildren who may one day choose to step in as the next generation of service providers in the fireplace industry.

Forden's Sacramento Dr. Showroom & Warehouse, 2019

Made in the USA Fordens SLO Fireplace

Made in the USA

Why do we value Made in the USA?

With purchases of American made products, consumers advance economic growth and keep people working in the United States. The USA generally has safer labor standards and cleaner manufacturing processes than those found abroad.

Forden’s strives to stock quality American made products. In addition, we feature finely crafted products made outside the USA at comparable prices to our competitors.

Ultimately, Forden’s goal is to provide our customers with the best products at competitive prices.


Certified Gas Specialists - National Fireplace Institute 
Service Team Members are certified in Gas, Wood & Pellet Products 
2013 & 2011 Heat and Glo - Top Growth Dealer
2011 Heat and Glo - Top Sales Dealer 
2011 Travis Industries - Top Sales Volume in Territory


Guidance & education for you in the selection of a fireplace product for your home application.


Consideration of style, size & function to give you the best options from which to choose.


Providing of annual maintenance, inspection, diagnosis and repair including chimney sweeping.


Installation of your hearth product by professionally trained technicians to ensure safe operation.

Fordens Certifications
Fordens Certifications
Need Our Assistance? Give Us a Call Now!
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