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Wayland Student Lights Fires, In a Good Way

A Wayland Middle School student created Stokes fire starters.

A Stokes fire starter. Credit: Ryan Grannan-Doll
A Stokes fire starter. Credit: Ryan Grannan-Doll

A Wayland Middle School student wants to light a fire in your house. 

Well, he at least wants to sell you the product to make a warm fire. 

Adam Lisdewski, an eighth-grader, is the brains behind Stokes, a natural fire starter he created and sells in Wayland and surrounding communities. 

 "It will light your fire no problem," he said during an interview with Wayland Patch. 

The product, which he sells in Wayland and surrounding communities, is an all natural fire starter made of sawdust, paraffin wax and egg cartons, he said. Lisdewski created the product, with his mother's assistance.

"My mom [was] talking to friends at a book club about who to make homemade gifts and there was a fire starter [that included lint from a dryer.] The lint from the dryer looked messy and a little gross. We started trying out different things that might burn better longer and stronger."

After customizing their product, Lisdewski began giving them away. 

"We started giving them as Christmas gifts, and they really worked," he said. 

The result - Lisdewski received offers to buy the products. Before selling them, Lisdewski said he tweaked the product by adding sawdust. Lisdewski's mother, through a friend, arranged to begin selling them at the farmer's market at Russell's in Wayland. Eventually, the store picked them up as a regular product. 

So far, Lisdewski said he had 800 units. He would not disclose his revenue but said the product sells for between $6 and $7.50. 

"I am looking to expand. We're trying to definitely find more stores to put it in," he said. 

Currently, the fire starters are sold at Whole Foods, Omni Supermarkets, Wilson's Farm in Lexington, Donelan's Supermarket and Russell's. 

Confident he does not need help, Lisdewski said he has no plans to apply to appear on ABC's Shark Tank. The show features wealthy investors negotiating business deals with entrepreneurs. Lisdewski said he is not willing to give up equity in his company, which many show contestants do when they arrange a business deal.

"I don't really need it at the moment," Lisdewski said of the show. 

Looking back on his accomplishment, Lisdewski said he has learned a lot. 

"I feel really great. I feel that it was a big accomplishment for me," he said. "It's s also really fun to be able to meet people and sell to them and get their ideas on the thing."

 

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