National Hardwood Magazine


September 2013 Feature Story


(L to R): Bill Long, International Sales Representative; Kelly Hostetter, General Manager; Tom Cobb, U.S. Sales Manager; Thom Teach, Sales Representative; and Coby Short, Sales Representative at Hartzell Hardwoods, Piqua, OH
Hartzell Family Of Companies Opens New Hardwood Concentration/Distribution Yard

 By Paul Miller Jr.

Piqua, OH—Hartzell Family of Companies, headquartered here, recently acquired a Hardwood distribution/concentration yard in Kirksville, MO.

Formerly known as Reliant Hardwoods, Hartzell Hardwoods’ General Manager Kelly Hostetter said the company has made several additions and improvements to the facility.

“We have installed five new kilns and added lumber handling machinery provided by TS Manufacturing, throughout this new operation,” Hostetter explained. He said additional new equipment includes a boiler system, a steam box and storage facilities. “We’ve just recently added 15 employees to support the expanded operations, which includes a new 35,000-square-foot lumber handling warehouse along with a new 22,000-square-foot storage building.”

The primary reason Walnut specialists, Hartzell Family of Companies purchased a new facility in Kirksville, MO is because the Missouri-Iowa area is well-known for premium quality Walnut.
Located in northern Missouri just an hour outside of Iowa, Hostetter said Hartzell chose the location for a variety of reasons. “Our number one reason for choosing this facility was due to the resource. We’re heavy to Walnut production and the Missouri-Iowa area is also known for premium quality Walnut. Another objective for us is to rekindle our market share in the United States and concentrate on developing new markets in central and western parts of the United States.”

International Sales Manager Bill Long added, “Hartzell has always been heavily oriented toward exports and we felt the timing was right to shift some of our focus back into the domestic market, especially since the domestic market has gained some strength recently. Working with Tom Coble, our domestic sales manager, we’ve been able to shift most of our recent growth back into the United States. We have not given up on our market share internationally; it’s through our growth that we’ve been able to continue business overseas and this facility will also make that part of our business easier to facilitate.”

Primarily offering 4/4 through 16/4 Walnut in all grades and thicknesses, the company also supplies White Oak up to 12/4 and Red Oak up to 10/4. “In Ash we produce 8/4 and we also do rift and quartered White Oak, 4 through 8/4 and some rift and quartered Walnut,” Hostetter noted. “In the Oaks we specialize in thicker stocks. So the majority of our production is going to be 6, 8 and 10/4.”

One of three of the company’s National Hardwood Lumber Association certified lumber graders, Danny Rich, grades Face and Better 4/4 Walnut.
“Over the last 10 years our company has continued to grow and has doubled in size and capacity over that time,” Hostetter continued. “Our board footage and revenue have doubled. Since the early 2000’s we’ve experienced steady growth with worldwide demand.”

Hostetter said Bryan Brawner is the operations supervisor and Slim Swafford is head of the project management team for the Kirksville facility. “At our Piqua location we have an automated green line and a dry line, two stackers, a 20-bay sorter on the dry line and a 10-bin sorter on the green.”  In addition this facility includes two pre-dryers, 27 dry kilns, and two steam boxes. “At both locations we bring the lumber in green, inspect it to ensure the grade and measure of what we’re looking to buy is there,” he continued. “Then we take it through the dry kiln process, bring it back to our machinery again to re-inspect it and ensure there aren’t any defects or issues that develop in the kilning process. Next it goes into our packaging department, which is our third stage of quality control. They’re also looking for any type of special defects that a specific customer might not like. This is where we go above and beyond the NHLA rules if necessary in that third stage of quality control packaging.”

Marketing globally for over 100 years to distribution operations and manufacturers, Hartzell currently does business in over 40 countries. With more than 135 years in operation, the family-owned Hartzell companies have demonstrated dedication to the forest products industry. Divisions include Hartzell Hardwoods, Hartzell Air Movement and Hartzell Veneer Products.

Stacking sticks on Hartzell’s green lumber line.
Hartzell Hardwoods is known globally as a leading producer of Walnut lumber as well as thick stock Red and White Oak Hardwood lumber. Hartzell Hardwoods exports throughout Europe, Mexico, the Far East and the Middle East.

Hartzell Hardwoods manufacturing process includes two high-tech lumber handling and grading systems with width sorting capabilities as low as 1/100-inch in any length. Surfacing, straight line rip and rip to width are some of the services offered at Hartzell Hardwoods.

A pioneer of the Hardwood industry, Hartzell was involved in many ‘firsts’. They were among the first to explore steaming of Walnut to turn its white sapwood into a Walnut color, which is a process that became universally adopted by the industry. In 1942 the company helped develop the procedure for gluing wood to metal in gliders. They developed the first unitized sawmill with a vertical edger, the first small log turning operation that permitted logs to be turned while still dogged, and an automated sawmill carriage with hydraulic setworks, a shifting knee and hydraulic tapers. In 1972 Hartzell Hardwoods was the first to develop a dual-matic grade sawmill, which enabled two circle saws side-by-side to manufacture two boards simultaneously.

Richard Greenstreet operates the trim line for kiln-dried lumber.
Hartzell Hardwoods constructed a state-of-the-art lumber handling system and expanded its dry kiln operation in 1998. Fifth generation Jim Hartzell became CEO in 2001 and more improvements were made with the addition of seven new dry kilns in 2002. The year 2007 brought the largest expansion in company history. Eight more kilns were added by 2011 and the newest addition, a concentration distribution yard, was acquired in 2012.

Hartzell Air Movement, also located in Piqua, encompasses both axial and centrifugal fans built for longevity within the rigorous requirements necessary for industrial environments. This operation produces industrial and general ventilation fans for five key markets, which are heavy industry, water and wastewater, high technology/semi-conductor, marine, and power generation. Hartzell Air Movement also manufactures specific fans for OEM accounts.  An interesting fact, Robert Hartzell joined the family operated business in 1917 and founded the wooden propeller blade business at the suggestion of Orville Wright who was actually a neighbor to the Hartzells.

Hartzell Veneer Products utilizes the latest advances in splicing technology to produce high-quality veneer products from over 100 different species. Located in Hillsdale, MI, the company offers faces, door skins, panel products and plain sliced, half round, quartered and rifted veneer cuts in domestic and exotic sliced veneers.

Walnut lumber on the trim line.
Founded by John T. Hartzell in 1875, Hartzell Family of Companies has an extensive history in the forest products industry. John Hartzell began producing Hardwood lumber from a sawmill in Greenville, Ohio. By the early 1900’s he had moved the sawmill to Piqua, Ohio, and began manufacturing gunstocks, propellers, wooden steering wheel segments, wooden battery cases and Victrola cabinets.

Key personnel for Hartzell Family of Companies include: Jeff Bannister, CEO, Michael Bardo, president and treasurer, Stephen Lucas, vice president and Jane Farley, corporate secretary. Kelly Hostetter is general manager of Hartzell Hardwoods division and Kirk Bachman serves as vice president.

Hartzell Family of Companies has a long-standing commitment to the communities it is a part of. The Group supports numerous nonprofit organizations through financial donations and organizational support. The organization is a member of National Hardwood Lumber Association, Walnut Manufacturers Association, Kentucky Forest Industries Association, Ohio Forestry Association Inc., Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association and the American Hardwood Export Council. For more information visit

4/4 FACE and Better Walnut ready for prompt shipment.


Home | Contact Us | Publications | Company Search | Advertising

© Copyright Miller Wood Trade Publications
No part may be reproduced without special permission

Site Designed and Managed by Pinpoint Web