Greg Kitchens is president of Kitchens Bros. Manufacturing Co., located in Utica, Miss.
KITCHENS BROS. Promotes Themselves Worldwide As Producers Of Quality Products And Customer Service
By Paul Miller Jr.
Utica, Miss. - Kitchens Brothers Manufacturing Co., headquartered here, is a family-owned company. Currently operating three sawmills and a dimension and flooring mill, the company is one of the leading exporters of American hardwoods.
Kitchens Brothers promotes themselves worldwide as producers of quality products and customer service. Among others, the firm has exported to the Pacific Rim, Europe, Southeast Asia, Mexico, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Founded by M.D. Kitchens and Lenon Kitchens in 1945, the early beginnings of Kitchens Bros. began with one small sawmill in Utica. When Lenon Kitchens passed away in 1967, M.D. Kitchens became sole owner of the flourishing company.
Alan Kitchens serves as secretary of the company and is responsible for the acquisition of new equipment and daily activities at the firm’s mill, located in Hazlehurst, Miss.
By 1987, ownership was divided equally to M.D. Kitchens' three sons, Greg, Alan and Kevin. President, Greg Kitchens said, “It’s a family-owned business, and we just find that doing what we have always done—providing quality service and products for our customers is what we want to do. The market times may change the product we make, but not the way we make our product. We have reduced our production due to this chaotic market, we have even changed some production from lumber to timber and industrial products but we still must maintain our quality product and service. Kitchens Brothers Manufacturing Co. will produce what our customers need and want.”
Company expansions started in the late 1970’s and culminated in the late 1980’s bringing production capacity to 60,000,000 board feet per year when full production is needed. The company currently owns three complete mills with yards and dry kilns.
In 1991 the three brothers opened a flooring company, Cherrybark Wood Flooring Inc. The flooring company manufactures southern hardwood flooring from the production of the Kitchens Bros. sawmills.
Kevin Kitchens is the vice president of Kitchens Bros. and oversees daily operations at the company’s Monroe, La., facility.
Sales manager John Clark explained the benefits of having a flooring operation supplied by the sawmill. “One of the benefits to having the flooring operation is that we have been able to see first-hand what our customers need,” he said. “Our customers are getting better products because we are educated on both sides of the business and are doing things differently than we used to now that we are also the end user side of the industry.”
Red and White Oak, Yellow Poplar, Sap Gum, Hickory/Pecan and Ash are among the species Kitchens Bros. offers in 4/4 and 5/4 thicknesses. Kitchens Bros. also offers custom cut thicknesses for customers with special needs. In addition to exporting lumber the company exports logs. Furniture, cabinet, moulding, and flooring manufacturers are among the many markets to which the company supplies lumber.
Gang ripping and surfacing is available at the company’s dimension mill in Hazlehurst. Kiln and planer operations at each mill total a dry kiln capacity of 1,000,000 board feet.
John Clark is the company’s sales manager.
Both the Monroe and Utica operations utilize a Fulghum Rosserhead debarker, Corley carriage with Lewis controls and scanner in the production process.
At the Utica facility, lumber is handpulled and stacked with a Black and Clausen stacker. Next it is dried in Sisson kilns, which run off Hurst wood waste boilers, powered by the company’s own sawdust and bark.
The Monroe location uses an 8-foot Filer & Stowell resaw for processing doubles and cants, a Crosby edger and an Irvington Moore trimmer. After going to the green chain, lumber is hand-pulled and put through a Hemco stacker.
At the Hazlehurst mill, equipment includes a Nicholson debarker, Corley carriage and scanner, Salem resaw with Lewis controls and positioner, High-Tech optimizing edger and trimmer and a Hemco sorter. An Irvington- Moore pre-dryer, four Coe kilns, one Hemco kiln and two Irvington Moore kilns. The pre-dryers and kilns operate off of a 600 horsepower wood waste boiler that utilizes dry shavings from the Cherrybark facility. This facility also includes the firm’s dimension mill and remanufacturing operations.
A load of lumber stands ready to ship at Kitchens Bros.
At all sawmill locations the lumber is dipped in Buckman 1009 wood preservative to control staining before shipping. Most shipping is handled by truck although Hazlehurst and Monroe also have rail facilities. The firm ships internationally as well as domestically.
Key people among the approximate 350 employees are: Greg Kitchens, president; Alan Kitchens, secretary; Kevin Kitchens, vice president; John Clark, sales manager; Travis Shobey, general manager; Jonathan Temple, general manager of Cherrybark; and Dennis Carraway, controller of both companies.
Kitchens Bros. Inc. supports a number of our industry associations. In addition, members of the company have dedicated time in fulfilling leadership roles.
Greg Kitchens has served as president of the National Hardwood Lumber Assoc. (NHLA), the Hardwood Manufacturers Assoc. (HMA) and the Southwestern Hardwood Manufacturers Club. Alan Kitchens served on the board of directors of the NHLA and HMA and John Clark has served as president of the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Assoc. (NOFMA), International Trade Club of Mississippi and the Mississippi District Export Council.
The main species used at Kitchens Bros. are Red and White Oak, as well as Yellow Poplar, Sap Gum, Hickory, Pecan and Ash, among others. The firm also maintains an inventory of 12 million board feet.
Cherrybark Flooring Inc. is a member of the National Wood Flooring Assoc. For more information about Kitchens Bros. Manufacturing and their products visit them at www.kitchensbrothers. com or contact direct at 601- 885-6001.
At Kitchens Bros., a High-Tech Optimizing Scanner is used for edging.