Maiden, N.C.—Lawrence Lumber Co. Inc. (LLC), located here, is a Hardwood concentration yard situated on 28 acres. The firm specializes in selling kiln-dried 4/4 through 8/4 Red and White Oak, 4/4 through 8/4 White Ash and 4/4 through 12/4 Poplar. The grades of lumber offered by the operation are No. 2 Common and Better.
Founded in 1993 by Tito Gori and his daughter Maura, LLC is presently located in Maiden, N.C., near highway 321 and Interstate 40, which is in a prime location for serving customers globally. A graduate of the National Hardwood Lumber Association’s Inspection School, Maura originally opened Lawrence Lumber in Erie, Pa., buying and selling lumber and logs for Azienda Legnami (A.L.A.), her father’s company in Italy. “Maura is very well known in the lumber business because she traveled extensively visiting suppliers when we first established our company,” Owner Tito Gori explained.
Steve Staryak is LLC’s export sales manager.
A.L.A. has three lumberyards located in Arezzo, Pesaro and Rome, Italy. These three yards have a total capacity of 80,000 square meters including 40,000 square meters of covered buildings, in addition to dry kilns and millwork services. A.L.A. handles Hardwood and softwood lumber, plywood and semi-processed products from around the world.
LLC has a dry kiln capacity of 800,000 board feet per charge counting their new pre-dryer/dry kiln and five dry kilns. They also have two fan sheds totaling 500,000 board feet capacity.
“SII Dry Kilns is one of the best dry-kiln manufacturers in the world,” Tito Gori said. “Paula Turlington and Dan Mathews have my highest compliments because they really have a successful business. The Cross Flow Pre-Dryer that we purchased from SII, saves a large amount of energy.” LLC also anti-stain treats all of their Hardwood products with ISK Biocides products ensuring 18 million board feet of Hardwoods that they ship annually is presented in the best condition available.
Lawrence Lumber Company inspects all their lumber after kiln drying and they offer many services like export prep, mixed truckloads, container loading, S2S, SLR1E and width sorting. The company ships their Appalachian Hardwood lumber domestically through contract carrier trucks and exports their containers of lumber from the ports of Charleston, S.C., Wilmington, N.C., and Savannah, Ga. “Logistically our service is unmatched,” Office Manager Kim Beam explained. “When a truck arrives it takes approximately 20 minutes from the time they check in and come back to the office for their paperwork, to leave. So our trucking companies ‘want’ to come here, because they know they’re going to get in and out of here very quickly and it’s a good situation for everybody.”
Kim Beam serves as the firm’s office manager.
About 50 percent of LLC’s Hardwood lumber is marketed domestically in the U.S. and the other 50 percent is sold abroad. Tito indicated his firm’s Hardwood lumber sales abroad are expected to increase. “We are beginning to ship our lumber to Hardwood concentration yards in different countries,” he explained. “We are also targeting large woodworking factories abroad.”
LLC’s five dry kilns operate from a boiler system. The operation has two fan sheds, two buildings for kiln drying Hardwood lumber, a large production building and two buildings for storage. Rolling stock at LLC’s facility includes six forklifts manufactured by Yale Materials Handling Corp., located in Dorval, Quebec. The size of the former pre-dryer is 200’ x 100’ and it will house a new line for stacking sticks, the production building is 200’ x 140’; and the two dry-storage buildings are 150’ x 100’ and 100’ x 119’. The fan sheds are 75’ x 72’ and the building that houses the new pre-dryer is 75’ x 110’. Furthermore, the kiln facility is 140’ x 35’. Machinery at LLC includes a ripsaw, a stacker, which is manufactured by Winston Machinery, located in Lynn, Ala., and a de-sticker.
Maura Gori now works as an English/Spanish language teacher and resides in the States. Being a family-owned and operated business, Tito Gori’s daughter Lorenza manages the lumberyard in Rome. His sister, Nunzi Gori is also a partner in the business and her son Andrea and daughter Raffaella manage the operation in Arezzo and Pesaro.
Tito Gori and his daughter Maura founded LLC in 1993.
In appreciation of his family and his employees, Tito said, “Our people are what is important to me. If you have good people you can conquer the world, otherwise you are nothing. The fortune of Lawrence Lumber Company is that we have very good people that consider this company as their company. I’m pleased that our dedicated employees have many years of experience and are preparing our customers’ orders exactly as they specify.” Personnel at the North Carolina Hardwood concentration yard include: Kim Beam, office manager; Steve Staryak, export sales manager; Steve Leonard, purchasing manager; Ismael Torres who manages shipping and receiving; and Chris Edmisten, dry kiln operator. “We also have excellent people in the yard,” Tito explained. “Everything that we receive is controlled piece by piece. When the green lumber arrives we control it piece by piece and put it on sticks, and depending on the specie we determine where it goes next. If we utilize the front shed or the pre-dryer, everything is kiln-dried next. We have a desticker line that controls when the lumber comes out from our kilns so that we are able to deliver a good quality lumber product to our customers.”
Continuing to innovate and maximize efficiencies at his facility, Tito has plans to convert one of the company’s buildings so it will house a new line for placing stacking sticks on and off their lumber. “Since our production will grow with our new pre-dryer and dry kiln, we are going to install a new line that will put sticks on our lumber and take them off,” he explained.
Tito Gori’s history with the U.S. dates back to 1960. “The first time that I came to the U.S. was in 1960 when I was chosen by the American Field Service to be an exchange student. Through this organization I spent my last year of high school in the U.S.,” he explained. “After World War II the nations of the world developed organizations like the American Field Service so that high school students from different countries going into the 12th grade would become exchange students. In other words, young senior boys and girls from Italy, or from other countries, were chosen to live with an American family for a year and attend high school here for their senior year. Also American students going into the 12th grade were chosen to live with an Italian family, or a family from another country, to learn about their people and culture. The idea was to teach young people that most people are very much alike and we should talk out our differences and not have any more wars in the future like World War II.”
Steve Leonard is the purchasing manager for LLC.
Also in 1960 Tito’s father built a plywood factory and his parents traveled to Africa and Ethiopia. “So when I was a senior in high school I was in the states and they were in Africa. We didn’t have the opportunity to talk on the phone because things were different in 1960. The world was bigger. Email and computers didn’t exist. During my stay in the United States, many American families wanted me to visit with them for the weekend because they wanted to learn about Europe, a world which was so far away and unknown then. Here in America, I was afforded many opportunities to go places like the Rotary and Lions Clubs to talk about Italy. It was for this reason that I fell in love with the people here and this great country.
“I was so impressed with the people in America and all the things that I saw and learned about that I knew one day I wanted to move here and become an American citizen,” he explained. “I studied and learned all I could about the U.S., and noted that this country is very rich in raw material. For example, Hardwood lumber is a very precious product and in the last 50 years, the forests have more than doubled here. Even if the economic situation here is not one of the best, there is a future in this country because you can sell American Hardwood lumber in every part of the world.”
Tito Gori attributes his success and reputation to his company philosophy. “I believe that we live in this world for such a short time that we must be honest, precise and do our work well. The most important thing in the world is your reputation. If you lose your reputation you are finished.”
Tito Gori became an American citizen earlier this year and a ceremony was held in Charlotte, N.C. “I am very proud of my American citizenship. America is a democratic country where people generally follow the law. I like the decency and the mentality of the people here.”
The Cross Flow Pre-Dryer LLC purchased from SII, saves a large amount of energy.
Gori still travels to Italy quite often to visit many of his family members who still live there and to make sure that his three Hardwood concentration lumberyards in Italy continue to operate smoothly.
LLC is a member of the Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc. and National Hardwood Lumber Association. For more information visit www.lawrencelumberinc.com.