UTICA — Equity Partners CRB and Heritage Global Partners have been retained to sell three hardwood sawmills on behalf of Kitchens Brothers Manufacturing Company.
Equity Partners is seeking bids for each mill in its entirety through late October, with any remaining assets to be offered at auction in November by Heritage.
Family owned and operated since its founding in 1945, Kitchens Brothers began with one small sawmill in Utica. During the late 1970s the company began expanding and in 1982, purchased a large pine sawmill in Hazlehurst and renovated it into a hardwood mill. About six years later, Kitchens Brothers purchased another mill in Monroe, La., bringing total production capacity to over 58 million board feet per year.
When the housing market collapsed and lumber prices fell to an all-time low, the company was forced to close two facilities and reduce its workforce in an attempt to survive. After struggling to continue operations and injecting substantial personal capital into the company, Kitchens Brothers ceased operations at all three locations on Nov. 28, 2012.
Ownership is hopeful that the ultimate buyer of the business will want to resume operations and continue to serve the customer base, as well as bring jobs back to the area. At one point, the company employed over 250 people.
Greg Kitchens, the company’s president said, “Lumber prices are at an all-time high, and with proper funding, a new owner can really capitalize on the revitalized market and bring people back to work in these sawmills.”