Tiny TIMBERS: A Small Company Providing Big Services
By Matthew Fite
Tiny TIMBERS, located in Deputy, Ind., purchases 100,000 board feet of Cypress and Pine in its business of offering plank flooring, complete house and commercial trims, replicate mouldings, siding, stair-system components and wood doors.
Deputy, Ind.–Located in rural southeastern Indiana, centrally positioned near Louisville, Ky., Indianapolis, Ind., and Cincinnati, Ohio, is an innovative company that has come back from a tragedy to thrive as a provider of lumber and fine woodworking products.
In fact, Tiny TIMBERS won the 2009 Wood-Mizer Business Best Grand Champion Award. As a business, Tiny TIMBERS stresses quality and a sense of pride. Tiny TIMBERS purchases 100,000 board feet of Cypress and Pine, and 50,000 board feet of mixed hardwood lumber annually.
Sherry Chapo, company president, said Joseph Chapo, her husband and company vice president, had worked as a journeyman carpenter, cabinet maker and professional woodworker and he knew what it was like to have difficulty finding a reliable source for quality woods in less-than-full-truckload quantities.
“Our original mission was to fill this void, while steadily growing our own company,” Sherry said.
Then in 1998, Tiny TIMBERS experienced a devastating fire.
“After several mean and lean years,” Sherry said, “we were fortunate enough to survive – by converting to a product line instead of the same generic services offered by others in our industry.
“The Internet was also in its early development at this time and allowed us the perfect vehicle to expand our market range by providing an informational portal, complete with product descriptions, images and pricing.”
Sherry Chapo, Tiny TIMBERS’ company president, said the firm’s success is due in large part “by converting to a product line instead of the same generic services offered by others in our industry.”
The company sells plank flooring, complete house and commercial trims, replicate mouldings, siding, stair system components, historic solid wood batten doors, and fine Pine and Cypress and kiln-dried native hardwoods, and remanufacturing services on a national basis.
“We specialize in servicing the historic restoration and replication sectors as well as custom wood markets,” Sherry said. “Complete in-house machining capabilities allow us to maintain consistent quality while containing prices from the initial concept through the entire machining process to the finished product.
“We just supplied a beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright inspired, prairie-style home that incorporated different woods in every room but it was entirely wood, no drywall,” she said. “This home is in Grandview, near Columbus, Ind. The homeowner was delightful to work with and involved in selecting each individual wood and application.”
Tiny TIMBERS provided tongue and groove planks for the finished walls, ceilings and sassafras trims throughout, an open timber frame staircase in Cypress and historic replicate batten doors in different species for each floor. Reclaimed Redwood and Pine were provided for a second story sleeping room and exterior sitting porch, complete with a Rumsford fireplace.
“You’ve got to like what you’re doing,” Sherry said. “We’re a family business. All of our employees who aren’t family members become part of our extended family. We try to make it fun so people will actually want to show up for work and have a sense of pride in what they do.”
Quality is “paramount,” Sherry said, “because our work depends on referrals and so our product, and the quality of the product, has to stand on its own. That’s one of the very top motivators, to make sure that our product that goes out is of consistent, high quality.”
Joseph Chapo, with pets Taz and Tadar, is Tiny TIMBERS’ company vice president.
With such quality as a priority, Jessie Stitsworth, operations manager and daughter of Joe and Sherry, is a vital part of the team. Stitsworth oversees all production, quality control and provides skilled assistance to the customer service department.
“We were ‘green’ before green was anything but a color,” Sherry added. “It is paramount to our philosophy and operations that we help to protect the fragile environment we all share. Responsible harvesting, manufacturing, and recycling of all waste products allow us to be a good neighbor and meet our commitment to our environment and to one another.” Sawdust generated from the milling processes is blown directly into company owned semi-van trailers.
Sawdust from the green mill is sold as boiler fuel. The kiln-dried shavings, chips, and sawdust generated from all other processes are separated to exclude walnut and sold as premium horse and animal bedding.
Tiny TIMBERS typically buys its logs from outside sources within a 100- mile radius of the facility. “We purchase logs from only responsible, licensed, and insured loggers utilizing Business Management Practices (BMP),” Sherry said.
The logs are sawn on a LT300 AWMV bandmill and E430 Edger. Most of the grade lumber is kiln-dried in one of three kiln chambers. Tiny TIMBERS sells lumber and manufactured products to its customer base, although, a small percentage of grade lumber is sold green in full truckload quantities to industrial users.
So what is the origin of this company’s colorful name?
Operations Manger Jessie Stitsworth moves boards during part of her daily routine, which includes overseeing all production, quality control and providing skilled assistance to the customer service department.
“We chose the name Tiny TIMBERS because it was fun and easy to remember,” Sherry said. “Being ‘tiny,’ we are responsive and adaptable to ever-changing market conditions. Our in-house manufacturing capabilities allow us to offer a diversified product line to meet the needs of our equally diversified clientele.”
Tiny TIMBERS utilizes equipment from Baker, Northtech, AWMV (Wood- Mizer), Doucet, SCM and Cresswood Grinder. Billy Ogden from Northtech Machinery in Louisville, Ky., has been with them from the beginning. The Northtech brand is used extensively in Tiny TIMBERS’ operations and is an integral part of its growth.
The rural facilities comprise 20,000 square feet under-roof, including a manufacturing plant, custom wood shop, sawmill, green operations, retail lumber racks and warehouse.
Tiny TIMBERS has three proprietary dry kilns with constant venting, manually monitored with wet bulb/dry bulb as well as a Lignomat kiln control system. Consistent with industry standards, kiln dried lumber is dried and conditioned between 6-8 percent average moisture content.
As for its energy system, the company has three industrial sized Central Boiler units utilizing the company’s seasoned and bundled sawmill slabs to provide heat to the kilns, manufacturing plant, offices and sawmill as well as supplying domestic hot water to all facilities.
Tiny TIMBERS saws logs on an AWMV bandmill and E430 Edger, and also uses equipment by Baker, Northtech, Doucet and Cresswood.
“We sell directly to the homebuilders and, actually, architects will specify our product,” Sherry said. “We’re getting to that point now where we are known in certain architectural circuits. So that makes it easier for us. We don’t have to sell ourselves and our products and our services because it’s already there. It’s just a matter of getting the same mindset of the project and the people and the builder because wood can take on all different aspects depending on what type of product that they want.”
When requested, local customers are referred to skilled craftsmen with a proven history of competently installing products manufactured by Tiny TIMBERS.
Tiny TIMBERS perpetually introduces new lines. “We are constantly evolving with the ever-changing market and economy,” Sherry said.
Tiny TIMBERS is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Indiana Landmarks. For more information about Tiny TIMBERS, call 812-866-4415 or 800-966- 4415 or visit their website, www.tinytimbers.com.
Tiny TIMBERS’ facility comprises 20,000 square feet under-roof, including a manufacturing plant, custom wood shop, sawmill, green operations, retail lumber racks and warehouses.