Big changes are underway at Longleaf Lumber. We’re expanding our Berwick, ME production facility, installing a solar array, and closing our NYC brick-and-mortar location.
2015 has been a big year for Longleaf. Our company has grown; we’ve hired new employees and sales volume has increased. Throughout this change, our most important challenge has been balancing customers’ project timetables with quality production. Everyone wants quality material and everyone wants it fast – an understandable demand.
We’ve worked hard to produce reclaimed wood flooring, paneling, beams, and countertops quickly without sacrificing quality. This is challenging because we won’t cut corners and we always give each order the time and care it deserves. This attention to detail means our lead times are not as short as our customers and we would like them to be.
That being said, we’re streamlining our production process by separating certain aspects of our reclaimed wood mill facility in Berwick, Maine. To achieve this goal, we’re constructing a brand-new warehouse and office building in one of our old inventory yards. This building will allow us to store more dry lumber and finished materials, cutting down on kiln times and storage-induced shipping delays. Our current facility in Berwick is only two buildings, one of which is stuffed to overflowing with completed orders and raw, dried stock.
Our new building will allow us to more easily load and unload trucks, organize lumber, and de-nail indoors. The front office space will give more flexibility to production management and will allow for a showroom for our Maine and New Hampshire customers. It will also free up our second building for expanded production activities.
The new building will play host to a 36kW solar panel array (our first), which we are beyond excited about. It’s no secret that lumber mills use a lot of electricity, and Longleaf’s particular attention to detail means we spend more time on each board (which means we consume more energy per board foot than a traditional mill). We’re especially thankful to the federal government and the USDA for the REAP program, which has allowed us to budget for the solar system. Although we won’t be able to generate all of our electricity, we will be closer to this goal than before. We’re tremendously concerned about climate change and hope to do more to reduce our energy consumption in the very near future.
In other news, we’ve decided to close our NYC brick-and-mortar showroom. We’ve always done a great deal of work in NYC and we’ve decided that this good work can continue without the logistical burden of our Garment District showroom. Those of you who have worked with Longleaf in New York City know that Alice travels to Manhattan to meet with clients on a by-appointment basis, which is a lot of work. After a few years of this tiring arrangement, we’ve decided it is healthier for our company to focus on production and outside sales.