Gary McInturf did something he had never dreamed of doing. After getting storm trees cutup by a local man with a Wood-Mizer sawmill, Gary was fascinated and decided to buy his own Wood-Mizer LT40. Read about some of the innovative things he has done to grow his new business.
If you had asked Gary McInturf a few years ago if he would ever take up sawing lumber for side income, he would have called you crazy. However, when an unusually strong windstorm hit his Kentucky property, he discovered a new source of income that started from a new hobby.
With several oak trees laying on the ground after the storm passed, Gary’s wife had the idea that they might be able to make a table out of the wood, instead of just cutting them up for firewood. At the time, Gary admits that he didn’t have a clue about how to turn his trees into lumber. He called up his local forestry department and asked them what he could do. They gave him the name of a Wood-Mizer sawmill owner in Gary’s area.
“When I saw him cut my lumber up, I thought it was the neatest thing I had ever seen, and 30 days later I owned one,” Gary recalls. It didn’t take him long to begin converting buildings to lumber drying areas—places where local hobbyists could come and select their boards. He was able to obtain several customers at local cabinet shops the old fashioned way: cold sales calls. Gary will tell you that he does not enjoy selling his services over the phone, but says that they really paid off for him. When he ?rst opened his business, Gary held an open house and invited locals to check out his new mill and chat over coffee. Even with rain that day, the event was well attended, and helped get his name out into the community.
Over the next two years, Gary has been able to expand with additional buildings, a Wood-Mizer kiln, a Wood-Mizer edger, a chipper, and a front end loader. He relies on a logger friend to keep him supplied with logs, and rewards customers with a discount when they buy lumber from him right out of the kiln.
Gary attributes his business success to several things. By providing a quality product, and treating his customers above and beyond how they are treated by larger lumberyards, his customers keep coming back, and spread the word about his business. By making smart business decisions regarding his product offered and his timely equipment purchases, he has continued to expand his product offering without overextending his resources.
With the assistance of Dr. Terry Conners from the University of Kentucky Forestry Department, Gary and several other sawmill owners in Kentucky have started the “Kentucky Wood Producers Association.” By employing the strength-in-numbers principle, they are able to help each other out, pool their resources for advertising, and bene?t from the knowledge and various skill sets they each bring to the table.
Ever the progressive thinker, Gary bit the bullet and learned the basics of designing his own website, and shares that his website has already paid off by increasing his January & February sales 220% from the same months last year. Visit his website at www.kysawmill.com.
To watch a 5 minute video tour and interview with Gary, visit woodmizer.com and check out the Business Spotlight videos in the Video Center. Sawing Lumber as a Second Career Gary’s dreams of a rewarding second career are paying off.
Editor’s note: The preceding was paid advertorial by Wood-Mizer.