When Lloyd Jones began his lumber business in 1949, he started with one tiny sawmill and a logging crew. From those humble beginnings, Jones began to grow the business one sawmill at a time while becoming involved in other areas of the timber industry.
Today, Jones Lumber Company exemplifies the benefits of diversification and self-sufficiency in a niche industry.
Based in Adams County, the company now operates nine sawmills and multiple log yards at various locations throughout Mississippi. Jones Lumber also owns a wood pallet mill, a pallet heat treatment plant and employs two full-time logging crews. Additionally, the company is aggressively procuring tracts of standing timber and efficiently harvesting those tree stands for multiple uses within the Jones companies.
“We’re one of the few one-stop shops in the industry,” said Brett Jones, who learned the timber trade from father Lloyd and is now president of Jones Lumber. “The company is involved in the entire process, from logging the timber to sawing the logs and assembling them into mats. We also truck them to the job – we do it all.”
Jones Lumber is a producer of various types of industrial-grade lumber, as well as its involvement in the trading of timberland investments. Their products are used in railroad construction, bridge construction, shipping crates and shoring for projects that require digging deep trenches.
Growth for the company has been driven by increased market-share and creating stronger niches. Jones Lumber has increased its timberland trading division and expanded the company’s in-house logging abilities to supply wood to its mills. The weaker U.S. dollar has opened up new avenues to produce more pallets for exporting commodities. Higher fuel prices have revitalized America’s rail industry, says Brett Jones, and created a larger demand for cross ties.
Coping with the nation’s economic downturn has been the company’s greatest challenge in the past year.
“During this time, we have faced a shrinking demand for hardwood products,” said Brett Jones. “As a result, we’ve had to find multiple ways to stay competitive in the market place. This includes finding new avenues for our products, along with developing more efficient ways to produce those products.”
Jones says the biggest change he’s witnessed in the last decade is the evolution of wood products. Additionally, the company has faced stricter regulations in the governing of the sawmill industry.
“Because of the restrictions, we had to come up with more creative ways to make total use of any type of timber,” he said. “Whether industrial grade mats, sheathing, pallets, support pads, wood chips, bark or potting soil…we’ve developed new products to sell to our customers’ ever-changing needs. We will always adapt to the needs of our customers.
“Our biggest change in the next ten years will depend upon them.”
His vision for the future of Jones Lumber is to develop new lumber products the most efficient way and stay committed to providing the best service possible.
“The recurring theme within Jones Lumber Company that relates to its success is simply its (workforce),” he said.
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