Wood Purchasing News


Feature Story

Jim Anton, serves as executive vice-president of O’Shea Lumber Co. Inc., and Mike O’Shea is president of the Glen Rock, Pa.-based firm.

Importer/Exporter O’Shea, Operating By “The Golden Rule”
By Bridget McCrea

Glen Rock, Pennsylvania—O'Shea Lumber Co. Inc.'s business philosophy is based on one simple, but crucial, idea: “The Golden Rule.”

“We started our business with the belief that if we treat our customers like we would want to be treated, then they will remember us,” said Mike O'Shea, president of the Glen Rock, Pa.-based wholesale lumber distributor, importer and exporter. "The relationships we've developed with our customers and suppliers over the years is every bit as important to us as the quality products that we sell."

All 45 of O'Shea Lumber’s employees live by the same rule, and strive to provide personal, genuine service to customers.

"We all work hard at what we do, and we never take our jobs lightly," said Jerry Anton, vice president of the firm.

The company was founded by O'Shea in 1971. That philosophy also carries over to the company's vendor relationship ties that have formed the cornerstone for O'Shea Lumber's 34 years of business success.

Operating from its headquarters, and a small distribution center in Wooster, Ohio, the distributor specializes in domestic and foreign hardwood and Northeastern White Pine, in 4/4 to 16/4. O’Shea purchases about 10 to 12 million board feet of lumber
Jerry Anton and Shawn Covalt serve as vice presidents of O’Shea Lumber.
annually from sawmills located in the Midwestern and Northeastern regions of the United States, as well as Canada, Africa, Central and South America on the import side. The company's primary species include Ash, Basswood, Hard and Soft Maple, Cherry, Poplar, and Red and White Oak. It also imports African Mahogany.
Situated on a 32-acre facility 35 miles from the Port of Baltimore, the company maintains an inventory of 2.5 million board feet of product at all times. Rounding out O'Shea Lumber's management team are Jim Anton, executive vice president, and Shawn Covalt, vice president. The National Hardwood Lumber Assoc.-certified company is a member of various trade organizations, including the Wood Products Manufacturers Assoc., Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Assoc., American Hardwood Export Council, Penn-York Lumbermen's Club, Virginia Manufacturer's Assoc. and the Pennsylvania Forest Products Assoc. 
The company’s warehouse is utilized for storing such species as Ash, Basswood, Hard and Soft Maple, Cherry, Poplar and Red and White Oak, to name a few.
O'Shea Lumber's in-house sales force markets products throughout the United States, with about 20 percent exported to Europe, Indonesia, Mexico and Canada. 

About 15 acres in scope, the distributor's yard includes a covered, air-dried area that can hold 1 million board feet of lumber. Its six Irvington-Moore dry kilns can handle 350,000 board feet of lumber, while a dry storage area holds another 3 million board feet. Other key pieces of equipment include a grading station, automated handling equipment and stackers. In a separate planing mill, employees use an Oliver-Strait-O planer, a Northfield 2-facer planer, an Ogham rip saw, a Beal straight line rip saw and a Mereen-Johnson 312 gang rip saw, the latter of which was installed last year.
Thanks to the addition of the new rip saw, Anton said the firm is now utilizing and beginning to run more moulding blanks for customers who have their own moulders, but who want their products ripped-to-size to make production of the end product that much more seamless. 

As green lumber is received at O’Shea, it is graded, end waxed to reduce end checks, put on Breeze-Dried™ sticks to eliminate sticker stain and stored in the firm’s air-drying shed, where it is kept out of the elements.
"We've steered clear of the moulding business intentionally, so as to not compete with our customers, but we will do the moulder blanks if they ask for them," said Anton. "That way, they can get a better handle on their yields when they're running their own moulders."

O'Shea has been working on that same customer-oriented philosophy since opening the doors to his company in 1971. Starting out as an office-based wholesaler in Baltimore, Maryland, O'Shea brought on Jim Anton as a partner three years later, then moved the company to a 3-acre distribution yard in Cockeysville, Maryland. Anton joined the firm in 1976, and Covalt came onboard in 1984. The latter two both worked their way up through the company, starting out in the yard, then moving into sales, and later into their current management roles.  
In Cockeysville, the company's operations are comprised of two dry kilns, a warehouse and an office. Ready to do more than just serve as an intermediary between mills and customers, O'Shea over time added two more kilns, a planer
O’Shea is equipped with six Irvington-Moore dry kilns.
and two delivery trucks, and then moved his firm to its current location in 1987. 
Today, O'Shea Lumber is seen as a progressive firm that's always looking to add products and services that will best serve its customer base. It relies on strong ties with sawmills and other vendors to make that happen. Getting there isn't always easy, according to Anton, who singles out the firm's biggest challenge as "keeping customers supplied with certain, in-demand species."

These days, that includes both Hard Maple and Cherry, both lighter woods that happen to be in high demand right now, thanks to the new construction and remodeling boom. As it continues to work through such challenges, Anton said the team at O'Shea Lumber will also be looking to expand in the near future by adding warehouse space, upgrading its existing equipment and adding more automatic handling equipment to its grading, stacking and tally lines. 
Six company-owned trucks are utilized for delivering products.
According to Anton, it's all being done in the name of offering customers quality products and the highest level of service possible.

"When customers do business with us," said Anton, "they find a welcome and an easy new way to buy quality domestic and imported hardwoods and softwoods."

The management team and all employees at O’Shea use “The Golden Rule” for getting quality products to customers.

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