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Timber Products of Iron Mountain earns U.P. small business award
ESCANABA — Candy Lauk, owner of Timber Products of Iron Mountain Inc. along with staff members, Stacey Weecks and Ann Walker, were presented with the Best Small Business Award for the Upper Peninsula Region.
The 13 companies honored for the 2010 Best Small Business Awards were selected from over 16,000 companies the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center(MI-SBTDC) provided with confidential counseling and training in 2010.
These companies are chosen based on their success in creating jobs, increasing sales, improving their business strategy and their involvement with the MI-SBTDC.
Candy Lauk is an example of an entrepreneur who was able to create a successful small business from an unforeseen opportunity.
Lauk began working for Timber Products in 1991 by helping with everyday bookkeeping activities. Timber Products is a long haul and LTL (Less- than-Truck-Load) trucking company that runs mainly in the Midwest.
Their main loads include roll paper, castings, roofing granules and sawdust and they pride themselves in customer service.
When control of the company was given to Lauk after the previous owner left, she set out to save the business. In order to make the business more profitable expenses needed to be reduced and income needed to increase.
Tough choices were made including: wage and benefit reductions, renting out shop space and all unnecessary expenses eliminated or reduced. Customers were contacted and met with and customer service and rates were discussed. Fortunately, no customers were lost.
The MI-SBTDC arranged for Lauk to meet with Jim Beauchamp, a small business consultant with the MISBTDC Upper Peninsula Region. Beauchamp met weekly with her and helped her learn how to manage both financial and personnel.
Cash flow charts were created, banks contacted (along with business counselor Robert Furno) goals were set, wages and employees discussed, time managed and many other changes occurred.
“I greatly appreciate Jim’s knowledge and friendship,” said Lauk.
Stacey Weecks and Ann Walker were also very instrumental in helping to rebuild this business. They worked many long hours, met with Beauchamp, shared ideas and covered the office needs while management was not there.
Over the past year, Timber Products’ sales are up by 25 percent, employees have increased from 22 to 27 including four owner-operators, and several new customers have been added.
Timber Products has been able to survive in an extremely difficult environment with high fuel prices and tough economy. However, they have been able to maintain stability by accepting help and advice, working with customers and banks and by reducing costs in every way possible, and through determination, hard work, and a willingness to accept change.
“I want to thank all the dedicated Timber Products employees, the banks and Rober t Furno who were willing to work with us, our customers who remained faithful, and especially MI-SBTDC consultant Jim Beauchamp for believing in us and for his on-going help and friendship,” said Lauk.
“We are extremely honored and humbled to receive this award and know that together with Jim and the MI-SBTDC, we will continue to work on maintaining or expanding beyond 25 jobs here in Michigan.”
The Michigan Small Business & Technology Development Center is the Feet on the Street providing counseling, training and market research for Michigan’s new business ventures, existing small businesses, expanding new businesses, new technology companies, and innovators.
The MI-SBTDC is located at the Grand Valley State University, Seidman College of Business in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As host of the MI -SBTDC State Headquarters, the Seidman College of Business oversees the twelve-region MISBTDC network. Entrepreneurs and small business owners may access the services of their nearest MISBTDC by calling (616) 331-7480.
Candy Lauk, president and owner of Timber Products Inc,. said her company received $1,050,000 in funding from the Small Business Association/Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center in 2012.
She said this summer, that funding will allow the company to move from their Kingsford location on Breitung Avenue to 611 In- dustrial Drive in Iron Mountain.
A press conference with the U.S. Small Business Administration of Michigan, was held to announce the new location on Tuesday. In attendance were representatives from the SBA/SBTDC, Florence State Bank, Dickinson Area Partnership, Hanson Realty and Timber Products employees.Timber Products is run by three women, Lauk’s daughter Stacey Weecks, and another female employee, Ann Walker.
The company has 26 employees and four part – time employees.
“The exciting part is moving into our new building by this summer. It will be more efficient for running the business,” Lauk said.
Funding for the SBA guaranteed loan went through the State Bank of Florence. The money will be used for new equipment and to grow the company. Gerald Moore, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration of Michigan, called the collaboration for Timber Products funding a “Trifecta.” He said the guidance, counseling and lending of the services offered by the SBA is the perfect marriage.” This is an example of one business in your community taking advantage of the program,” Moore said.” Many businesses are gaining access to the tools and resources they need. Small businesses don’t know what they should know and miss out on the resources available.”
Moore said small businesses interested in learning more about the resources available to them can call (313) 226 – 6075. He said the SBA specializes in the three C’s – counseling, capital assistance, and contracting.” Our resources end, but small businesses get the help they need, and we have to help them get the resources they need,” Moore said. “It is a federal, state and local collaborative.”Jim Beauchamp, senior consultant of the Michigan SBTDC for the U.P. Region, assisted Lauk and her staff in developing tools to monitor cash flow and analyze financial data as well as pursue marketing activities.”
Our meetings began as a weekly process and then moved to monthly basis. Candy and her staff quickly proved they had the capability of saving jobs and turning the losing business into a profitable and successful entity,” Beauchamp said. “I’m proud of Candy and her staff and wish them continued success in their new facility.”Joel Schultz, regional director for the Michigan SBTDC for the U.P. Region, added Lauk was willing to take the initiative, seek assistance and diligently implement the tools of the SBA program.
The press conference is part of the “Countdown to 83 Helping Small Business Succeed One County at a Time” campaign undertaken by the SBA’s Michigan District Office.Dickinson County was the start of this campaign and the 74th county Moore has visited since his appointment in 2011.
Timber Products of Iron Mountain is a truckload and LTL dry van carrier serving 48 of the United States with 48 – foot and 53 – foot trailers. Established in 1991 in Florence, Wis., the company started hauling landscape bark to Chicago. By November of that year, it began hauling hickory sawdust from Pulaski, Tenn. to Manitowoc, WI. It has now grown to a fleet of more than 25 trucks and hauls a variety of products to 48 states. Products include roll paper and castings from the local community.
We pride ourselves on our service when we sell our products to our clients and it is great to deal with a like minded company who pride themselves on the same values as us. I have great pleasure in recommending Timber Products as a freight carrier for LTL, and TL shipment services. They’re a tremendous help with their high regard for professionalism, need to meet our expectations, continual versatility, and constantly striving to improve their customer service. Candy Lauk has a high standard of integrity, has proven to provide exceptional rates, and her team of workers provides outstanding service to their customers. I look forward to a very long and thriving relationship with Timber Products and would recommend their service highly.
Timber Products Thrives in Excellence and Pride in their drivers and customers. Satisfaction Guaranteed!
Larry Horsey, Driver