Wood Purchasing News


Feature Story

Cramer Lumber’s company headquarters are located in Hickory, North Carolina, and serves as a home to more than 5 million board feet of kiln-dried inventory.

Cramer Going Strong Worldwide
By Gary Miller

Hickory, North Carolina—W.M. Cramer Lumber Co. takes pride in offering quality hardwoods with outstanding service. For 35 years, Wendell Cramer’s vision for his business has been to supply customers with the items they want on time.

As a service-oriented company, Cramer Lumber maintains a concentration yard and a primary distribution facility in Hickory, North Carolina. This is the home for more than 5 million board feet of kiln-dried inventory, consisting of a large variety of species, grades and thicknesses. These items can be distributed in smaller quantities or truckload quantities. And, it’s always an option to mix items in the trailer load quantities. Some of the key species offered include Red and White Oak (plain, quartered or rift sawn), Poplar, Hickory, Basswood, Hard and Soft Maple, Walnut, Cherry, Mahogany, Birch, Cypress, Cedar and Eastern White Pine—just to name a few. Shipping methods include containers, flat beds, 10-wheelers and LTL options so that deliveries are prompt.

Wendell Cramer, owner of W.M. Cramer Lumber Co., and his daughter, Kim Vollinger, and son-in-law, Mark Vollinger, take pride in the family-owned company.
The Hickory operation provides value-added materials using a 382 Newman rough planer, a Yates American straight knife planer, a Mattison straight-line tip saw and an automatic stacker. The dipping process provides a stain-free lumber during the summer months. Also, between the two Hickory facilities, there are kilns with a capacity of more than 1.3 million board feet. Custom kiln drying, surfacing and straight-line-ripping are additional services that Cramer provides.

The export staff operates primarily from the corporate location in Hickory, North Carolina. Currently, Cramer is upgrading the Millwood, Kentucky, concentration yard with dry kilns to provide additional service opportunities, especially in the export department. Likewise, Cramer offers export capabilities in both North Carolina yards, as well as the West Virginia locations. To meet customer needs, W.M. Cramer International builds multiple item containers on any export shipment and gladly stencils the company’s logo upon request. Active with the American Hardwood Export Council, both Lewis Reed and
Lewis Reed and Ruth Callender are in charge of the export lumber sales for W.M. Cramer International, They are standing proudly by their firm’s logo on some bundles of lumber.
Ruth Callender maintain their export sales.

Two primary mills in West Virginia supply Cramer with the majority of their “Cramer Quality” hardwoods. With 300,000 board feet of kiln-drying capacity, the company’s band mill, located in Marlinton, provides container and flat bed shipments for both the domestic and export markets. Cramer Lumber also exclusively represents Myles Lumber Co. in Elkins, West Virginia. This sawmill has a band mill operation with 300,000 board feet of dry kiln capacity per charge, and produces very high quality lumber in 4/4 thicknesses only. Both West Virginia mills provide Appalachian quality lumber distributed worldwide.

On the distribution side, Cramer Lumber also operates two warehouses in key locations. The Florida warehouse, located in Sanford just north of Orlando, offers storage capacity for more than 2.5 million board feet of kiln-dried lumber and custom millwork. This 60,000-square-foot facility contains a variety of products including a huge Cypress inventory.

The company tries to educate the public on forestry issues through carrying positive messages on the wood industry on the sides of some of their trucks.
The Georgia warehouse, located in Ball Ground, provides an excellent location to serve Atlanta and north Georgia. This distribution center has 1 million board feet of kiln-dried storage space. This facility’s primary inventory supplies the kitchen cabinet trade, with surfaced and straight-line-ripped with one edge for small order pick up and delivery. This location also carries high-end lumber for the millwork industry, as well as other grades in a variety of species.

Wendell Cramer began his career in the lumber industry in 1962, working for Benson Sawmills in Pickens, West Virginia. Later, he joined Georgia Pacific Corp. in sales for five years before founding his own company. W.M. Cramer Lumber Co. began as a one-man wholesale operation. After a few years of wholesaling, Wendell fulfilled his long-range plan, breaking ground for a concentration yard in Hickory in 1971. This marked the birth of Cramer’s famous logo, “Limbo.” Created by June Myles, the logo illustrates a lumber rule wearing overalls and a work cap, while holding two boards, which say, “Cramer Quality Hardwoods.” You can find “Limbo” and his story on their website at www.cramerlumber.com. Over time, “Limbo has become the industry’s synonym for quality.”

Dry kilns at the Marlinton, West Virginia, facility have a capacity of 300,000 board feet.
From there, the company grew, adding sawmills in West Virginia, company trucks, kilns, planers, ripsaws, more warehouses, distribution yards and an export division. Today, the company continues to advance in creative ways to meet increasing customer demands.

W.M. Cramer Lumber Co. actively supports the hardwood industry through various trade associations. Currently, the company is quite involved with the National Hardwood Lumber Assoc., of which Wendell is a past president. Wendell is also a past president of the Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc. and the Appalachian Lumbermen’s Club. Not to mention, Cramer Lumber maintains memberships in several other associations including the Hardwood Distributors Assoc. Wendell Cramer presently serves as the president of the Hardwood Federation Political Action Committee, which has succeeded in making Hardwood lumber a priority in Washington, D.C.

Like most hardwood lumber businesses, Cramer Lumber is a family-owned business. Wendell’s daughter, Kim Vollinger,
Paul Chapman serves as manager of domestic sales, marketing and purchasing at the operation.
and son-in-law, Mark Vollinger, share Wendell’s enthusiasm and involvement with industry associations in addition to their active roles within the company. Also, they maintain a passion for the Hardwood Forest Foundation, which educates the public about the forest industry. “Family” is truly important to Wendell, which is why he regards the company employees as family, too.

“Everyone at this company—in all the divisions—is a key player in making sure this operation runs smoothly,” Wendell said. “If everyone weren’t doing their job to their best of their ability, this company would not be the success it is today.”

Cramer Lumber’s Orlando, Florida, distribution center serves customers in central and southern Florida, offering 50,000 square feet of storage space and 2.5 million board feet of kiln-dried lumber and custom millwork.

The company exclusively represents Myles Lumber Co., located in Elkins, West Virginia.

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