Heritage Forest Products Inc., based in Deland, Florida, is a distributor of imported wood, both hardwoods and softwoods, and also carries domestic species.
HERITAGE FOREST PRODUCTS Takes Pride In Quality Imports
By Michelle Keller
Deland, Florida—Heritage Forest Products Inc., based here, purchases approximately 15 million board feet annually in imported species, as well as some domestic species. Heritage’s customers include primarily cabinet shops, boat manufacturers, millwork shops and retail lumberyards.
In Heritage’s flooring inventory, its imported exotic species includes: Australian Cypress, Cumaru (Brazilian Teak), Ipe (Brazilian Walnut), Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry) and Santos Mahogany.
The company’s inventory of imported hardwoods includes Spanish Cedar, Jatoba, Mahogany and quartered Sapele. Its imported softwood inventory consists of Caribbean Heart Pine.
Established in late 1985 by Fred Blackmon and Don Meyer, Heritage began by offering exclusively Northern and Appalachian Hardwoods and West Coast softwoods. Today Heritage Forest Products has more than doubled its warehouse capacity and added exotics, particleboard, plywood and an expanded cellular PVC line (Kleer) to its list of available products.
Heritage Flooring Department Manager Tim Blackmon (left) and Rob Cone (right) examine Heritage’s hardwood flooring samples.
“Our original warehouse and office was located in Orlando, Florida,” Blackmon explained. “We stayed there until we outgrew the existing facility in 2001. When we moved to Deland (near Daytona) we were able to more than double our warehouse space and triple the office size.”
The approximate 80,000 square-foot warehouse facility is located in an industrial park, which adjoins the Deland airport. “We began our Heritage story with six employees on day one and currently have 19 at our Deland branch and eight at our division in Savannah, Georgia,” Blackmon continued.
Entering his 40th year in the forest products industry, Blackmon’s experience dates back to his youth, as his father was also a lumberman. “I graduated from college ona Friday night and started to work on Monday morning at Louisiana Pacific Corporation (LP) in Augusta, Georgia,” he said. “My father set up the initial interview with LP in 1973. In 1976 I was hired by Martin Keaton of McEwen Lumber Company in High Point, N.C., as their head purchasing agent.Don Meyer, then-President of Baillie Lumber Co., in Hamburg, N.Y.and I reached an agreement to open a stand-alone wholesale distribution company in late 1985. By the time we opened in February 1986 my wife and I had come up with the name and logo for Heritage Forest Products, Inc., and we were off and running. Steve O’Connell agreed to come with me from McEwen in this new venture as our only outside salesman.”
Some key personnel at Heritage include: (Left to Right): Jack Evans, inside lumber sales coordinator; Fred Blackmon, vice president; and Greg Metts, assistant general manager.
“That year was not the greatest in terms of market timing for opening a lumber business,” Blackmon laughed. “But our struggles did not last long. Through the hard work of the six original ‘Heritage family’ members the company profited the very first year it was open. All six employees had the same job description—whatever needs to be done, do it! The emphasis was on quality from day one…..quality in employees, products, equipment and customer relationships.
“Our history has been to stick with quality oriented vendors and not base purchasing on ONLY finding the cheapest price,” he continued. “We want our reputation to be one of ‘partner and friend’ with our customers as well as our vendors. This has always been of utmost importance in our dealings day to day.”
Heritage currently markets its products throughout Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.As operations continue to grow, Blackmon indicated expansions are on the horizon. “We are researching other locations currently. Our flooring market is expanding and we are planning to add at least one additional branch in 2012 and more in 2013.” Heritage opened it’s flooring department in November 2000 while still in Orlando.
However Blackmon remains dedicated to customer service and quality over size. “As I stated in our very first brochure, ‘It is not our goal to be the biggest but rather we strive to be the best’ in our marketplace. Maintaining quality and honesty in all aspects of our company will always be our primary mission.”
Heritage’s 80,000 square-foot warehouse facility is located in an industrial park, which adjoins the Deland airport. Cumaru, Ipe, Jatoba and Mahogany are among Heritage offerings in flooring.
Heritage’s key people at its Florida location include Vice President and General Manager Blackmon ; Assistant General Manager Greg Metts; Controller Peggy Hearrin; Flooring Department Manager Tim Blackmon and Salesmen Steve O’Connell, Jack Evans, Terry Hyde, Ron Horstkamp, Steve Kearns and Rob Cone.
Key people at the firm’s Savannah location include:Branch Manager Sam Sowers,Outside Sales Representative Casey Dameron, and Warehouse Foreman Mike Trent.
Heritage Forest Products is a member of the National Wood Flooring Association, Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc., and Blackmon was on the board of directors until February of 2006.
Heritage currently markets its products throughout Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. Spanish Cedar, Jatoba, Mahogany, Sapele and Caribbean Heart Pine are among Heritage’s imported lumber inventory.