Rob Schenz, owner, and operator of Specialty Gas House believes in taking care of his community, one fire pit, fireplace, gas line repair, grill, and food truck fill-up at a time. A proprietor of all things propane (and charcoal), Schenz broke into the gas game in 1988 by moonlighting as a gas lamp post repairman. During this experience, his passion to build custom fireplaces was lit, and by April of 2004, this passion was parlayed into a full retail, custom build, and repair operation.
His other passion, helping others, was sparked by the cancer-related deaths of his sister and niece. While lamenting that loss, Schenz said, “After they were gone, I felt like it was up to me to carry the torch. I wanted to help others while keeping the memory of them alive.” This tragedy led to the creation of the Specialty Gas Foundation, which helps many aspects of the local community and most especially by raising money to fight cancer.
Schenz’s bread and butter, in the fight against cancer, is The Ohio Eggfest. Simply put, this event is a cooking and grilling competition, where teams utilize BRAND NEW Big Green Eggs (a kamado-style ceramic charcoal cooker), in an effort to claim state-wide grilling rights. These Eggs, after only one single use, are then sold at used prices.
To serious grill masters, this is like buying a brand new Ferrari, at used Ferrari prices, after a single test drive.
In 2019 alone, the event raised $67,000 for the Urban & Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer Research, and over the past five years, the total amount raised hovers around $200,000. Schenz’s eyes light up when he talks about this event, saying “long ago I figured out that if you spend your advertising budget helping out the community, that everyone wins.”
Another avenue that combines Schenz’s passions is the Buckeye BBQ Battle. Hosted at Specialty Gas House, this “Pros Vs. Joes” event lets local backyard barbeque kings and queens test their mettle against the best in the business. The special focus of this event is fundraising for Operation Injured Soldier, an organization that creates recreational opportunities for wounded veterans to assist in recovery from injuries sustained during deployments.
From June through the Friday before College Football kicks off, Schenz also helps the community with “Fundraiser Friday’s”. For this event, Schenz purchases all of the food and drink, and for a minimum $5 donation, customers can get an item off of the grill/smoker, chips, and a drink. Pizza off of the Egg? Check. Burgers? Done. Smoked wings? Yep. All proceeds currently go toward Honor Flight Columbus, an organization that helps veterans travel to Washington D.C. to view monuments and memorials built in their honor.
One other program that should be mentioned is the “10 for 10%” program in which anyone who brings in 10 non-perishable food items receives 10% off almost any purchase in the store. The donated food goes to the Clintonville Beechwold Community Resource Center, and in 2019 alone, Schenz donated almost 25,000 pounds of food. Schenz reflects, “It just makes me feel good. I love loading up my truck, dropping off the food, and seeing smiles on faces”.
If you want your dollars to stay in your community, are interested in supporting small businesses, and want to help those who serve their community, Specialty Gas House checks all three boxes. With football season upon us, there is no better place to service your grilling needs. And with winter right around the corner, we can think of no better business to help you with a custom fireplace installation.
Support Columbus. Support your community. Support local.