The Idaho Forest Group, headquartered in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, sales and administration team: (left to right) Erol Deren, Wade Wheeler, Melody Martz, Ahren Spilker, Mason Anderson, Garth Williams, RobinMartin, Alan Kemmis, Ken Koenig, Gina Pearcy, Andy Dunham, and Rick Palmiter.
IDAHO FOREST GROUP Adds Lewiston, Expands The Product Line
Photos Courtesy of Idaho Forest Group
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho—Idaho Forest Group continues to expand its operations and lumber product line from the Intermountain West region.
In fourth quarter 2011, the company announced that it was acquiring a Lewiston, Idaho, lumber production facility along with nearby timber supply from Clearwater Paper Corporation.
That $30 million purchase gave Idaho Forest Group (IFG) another strategic hold in a region renowned for its timber supply.
IFG is now Idaho’s largest lumber producer, according to company representatives, and one of the Top 10 in America, with capacity for manufacturing more than 1 billion board feet per year.
With the Lewiston purchase, IFG now owns five mills throughout northern and central Idaho’s vast acreage of forests.
Idaho Forest Group has the ability to offer custom sizes, specified talliesand mixed loading.
“We like our supply here in the Intermountain West,” said Erol Deren, VP of sales for Idaho Forest Group. “We get a special kind of fiber resulting from short growing seasons, soil quality and the right amount of rainfall.”
IFG’s locations now include Moyie Springs near the Canadian border, Laclede on the Pend Oreille River, Chilco just north of Coeur d’Alene, Grangeville and Lewiston. The company’s sales team and administrative staff work out of the flagship headquarters in Coeur d’Alene.
“These locations give us the ability to pull desirable fiber out of the forests according to demand,” Deren said. “We are in an excellent position to harvest exactly the product our customers are asking for, and ship it in timely fashion.”
Lumber species include Western Red Cedar, White Pine, Douglas Fir, Western Larch, Grand Fir, Western Hemlock, Lodgepole Pine, Englemann Spruce, Sub-Alpine Fir and Ponderosa Pine. IFG offers its premium products under the name Idaho Forest Gold.
The company has the capacity for private labeling, bar coding, end branding, custom sizes, specified tallies, mixed loading and destination pricing.
For 2013, IFG will continue its expansion of specialty products, including Cedar, White Fir, Ponderosa, and Engelmann Spruce/Lodgepole Pine.
“At this point, we have the broadest line of species and products in North America,” Deren said.
As another part of its strategic growth, the company has invested significantly in technology, with computers making precise evaluations throughout the milling and kiln-drying process.
Idaho Forest Group's Ken Koenig, Garth Williams, Rick Palmiter and Erol Deren at company headquarters. A local craftsman using every species of wood they sell made their conference table.
“We certainly have pursued machinery that gives us more product from the log, but even more important, gives us the tightest tolerances that today’s professional contractor and even do-it-yourselfers are demanding,” Deren said.
Idaho Forest Group was formed in 2008 when two successful Intermountain West timber interests – Riley Creek Lumber and Bennett Forest Industries – combined their resources.
“Both of these longtime companies are family-owned with a traditional value mindset,” said Marc Brinkmeyer, founder of Riley Creek Lumber and now president of Idaho Forest Group. “Our two businesses shared common traits that fostered a successful merger, including like commitments to serving customers and employees, investing in facilities, and embracing the forest products heritage.”
For the year ahead, IFG will continue to fine-tune production and shipping from the Lewiston location, Deren said, along with expansion of specialty products.
“It will be interesting to see how the lumber industry responds to the signs of the housing recovery taking place,” Deren said. “We know there will inevitably be a lag in response, due to the down-scaling in infrastructure from the forest to the job site. The question will be how our industry steps forward to meet that new demand.”
Idaho Forest Group continues to invest significantly in computerized technology.
Other future plans for IFG include expansion of the company’s ability to offer custom profiles and patterns, adding scope and value to specialty products. Other fine-tuning is expected to lead to shorter shipping times and better inventory management for customers.
IFG also has the ability to manage inventory at their locations for specialty stocking distributors. “Our biggest wholesale distributor customers rely on us,” said Rick Palmiter, account manager. “If that means mixing a lot of products on the load, we’ll do that. On any given truck we may have eight to 12 different items on it. We load a substantial amount of highly mixed trucks in order to enhance our customers inventory turns.”
The people at IFG have a “can-do” attitude that speaks for itself. In addition to Deren and Palmiter, other sales personnel at IFG include: Ahren Spilker, Mason Anderson, Garth Williams, Andy Dunham, Ken Koenig and Wade Wheeler.
Idaho Forest Group has a sales headquarters in Coeur d'Alene, with five production sites throughout northern and central Idaho's timberlands.
The company belongs to the North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA), where Spilker sits on the board of education committee. IFG is also a member of the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association, where Palmiter is on the board. The company belongs to the Western Wood Products Association, Forest Stewardship Council, and Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
Idaho Forest Group will have an exhibitor’s booth supporting their friends and customers at the NAWLA Traders Market® November 7-9 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago, Ill.
“We continue to grow in capacity and to strengthen our focus on the business fundamentals,” Brinkmeyer said. “Our never-ending goal is getting quality products out of the Intermountain West and into our customers’ hands.”