National Hardwood Magazine


November 2013 Feature Story


Logan Josey is a vice president of Josey Lumber Co. Inc., Scotland Neck, NC, and is in charge of the lumberyard, maintenance, the dry kilns and boilers.
Josey Lumber Company Inc. Celebrates 30 Years of Success

 By Gary Miller

Scotland Neck, NC—Josey Lumber Company Inc., based here, is located approximately 150 miles east of Greensboro, NC, and less than 90 miles northeast of Raleigh, NC. The company is celebrating their 30th year of being in the Hardwood lumber manufacturing business since they were founded in 1983 by Joey Josey, who is the current owner and president of the company that also handles lumber sales.

Today, Josey Lumber Company Inc. has 30 employees that work at their sawmill operation; and 10 employees who work at their new kiln-dried lumber facility called Joco Lumber Inc., which is a division of Josey Lumber Company.

Joey is very proud that his sons, Tripp and Logan, work with him in his lumber business. Tripp Josey is a vice president in charge of log procurement, scaling and accounting. He also is a relief sawyer for his family’s band mill facility.

A view of Josey Lumber’s air drying yard, planer mill, and storage shed.
Logan Josey is a vice president, as well, that is in charge of the lumberyard, maintenance, the dry kilns and boilers. Logan also helps manage the personnel and he is second in command to Gary Browder, who has been with Josey Lumber Company Inc. for 20 years, and is currently plant manager.

Another employee who has been with the firm for 20 years is Janet Harrell. Her responsibilities include being the office manager, controller and bookkeeper for both of Joey Josey’s lumber companies.

Earlier this year Joey Josey’s new company, Joco Lumber Inc., installed two new SII dry kilns that have a combined dry kiln capacity of 140,000 board feet per charge. The dry kilns are presently operating on a 150 horsepower Hurst propane boiler. Joco Lumber has a new 400 horsepower Hurst wood-fired boiler that can furnish the steam to run their dry kilns as well.

This particular company also has a Newman 382 S2S planer. Furthermore, in 2012 his firm bought an 80,000-square-foot metal building situated on 12 acres adjacent to his Hardwood band mill operation where the company built 4,000 square feet of office building space inside this large building. “The office space we have now was originally one big open room and we put five separate offices and a reception area in and installed wood paneling and all the upgrades. The wood paneling is made of species that we carry like Pecky Cypress and Knotty Poplar. My office is constructed from Pecky Cypress. My son Tripp’s office is done in Wormy Maple, our forester, Mark Worsley’s, is made of solid Cherry and Gary Browden’s office is done in solid Walnut. The secretarial, reception, and conference areas are constructed of Select Cypress.”

(Left to Right): Tripp, Joey, and Logan Josey, Josey Lumber Co. Inc.
Inside the 80,000-square-foot building the company has not only had their offices built in there, but also their dry line equipment is operating in this particular building to process their kiln-dried lumber. Approximately 65,000 square feet of this building is used as a fully enclosed warehouse for storing and loading the company’s bundles of kiln-dried lumber.

The sawmill division, Josey Lumber Co. Inc., cuts approximately 10 million board feet a year that includes Hardwood lumber, cants and timbers. The mill consists of a 6-foot McDonough band headrig and a 6-foot McDonough band resaw. The Josey’s sawmill operation manufactures and sells lumber in these species: Red and White Oak, Soft Maple, Ash, Poplar and Cypress. Their lumber, which is manufactured in 4/4 through 8/4 thicknesses, is sold green, air-dried and kiln-dried, rough or surfaced in random lengths and widths. At the millsite there are two automated dip tanks with chemicals in them manufactured by ISK Biocides. These chemicals make the lumber look a little brighter and keep it mold and stain free for several days, according to Joey.

Recently, Joey mentioned that the key to his firm’s continued success is re-investing in the business by making necessary upgrades to equipment as needed. “We always do our own installations,” Joey said. “I help with architectural plans, engineering and the welding. I’m the designer and millwright. Inside this same facility phase two of our expansion will be taking place this winter and spring. We will be adding equipment that will allow us to offer S4S material, moulding, gang rips and straight line rips. We have also installed an inspection line, a paint line, and a tally line where we will paint the ends and apply logos to bundles of our lumber.”

The company ships mostly straight loads of lumber but does have the capability to offer mixed loads. A load of air dried Cypress is shown here.
Joey continued, “We now have the ability to load our lumber on a truck inside our large building so once it comes out of the kiln it never sees daylight until it’s on the truck. In the kiln-dried lumber business you never have enough storage sheds. So as cash flow and profits dictate, we will continue to expand our dry storage capacity.”

Most of Josey Lumber Company’s lumber is sold to customers located in North America and Mexico, such as Hardwood distribution/concentration yards, various types of woodworking plants and pallet plants.

“We’re a large producer of lumber that goes to Hardwood flooring manufacturers in this country,” Joey offered. “Our upper grades of Oak and Poplar go all over the world. With our new dry kilns we’ll be able to increase our lumber sales to international markets.”

The company ships mostly straight loads of lumber but does have the capability to offer mixed loads. Just 90 miles from the Norfolk, VA, port, the company’s location helps it to have an advantage in the U.S. export market. “We ship a lot of lumber to exporters here in the U.S.,” Joey explained. “We’re 90 miles inland, and located near the deepest water port on the East Coast. We offer export prep and container loading and shipping over to Norfolk.”

In 2012 Josey Lumber purchased an 80,000-square-foot metal building situated on 12 acres adjacent to their Hardwood band mill operation where the company built 4,000 square feet of office building space inside this large building.
Joey started in the forest products industry in the mid 1970’s, working for a friend who owned several sawmills. It was then that he realized his goal in life was to operate his own Hardwood sawmill one day. The owner of that large company admired his vision, however he told Joey that he could not manage a job that he had never done. Joey took that advice to heart and worked his way through his friend’s company by initially pulling lumber and sweeping floors. Eventually he worked his way up as a shipping clerk, inventory controller, yard foreman, planer mill foreman, purchaser, timber cruiser, timber buyer, and dry kiln operator. He learned everything that he could about machinery, lumber grading, lumber purchasing and marketing. In the fall of 1983, Joey returned home to Scotland Neck and began construction on his own Hardwood sawmill.

“We started clearing the land and building the sawmill in November of 1983, and I received my first check for my first load of lumber on April 18, 1984,” Joey explained. “When I first started my lumber company I had 12 employees including myself. I was the log scaler, the lift driver and the clean-up man. I worked 90 to 100 hours a week to make this business a success.”

Joey attributes the early success of Josey Lumber Co. to the support of good friends and trusting business acquaintances. Through it all, his operation has survived the many ups and downs in the economy that come with owning a Hardwood sawmill business.

Josey Lumber’s boiler and kiln control room.
As for the future, Joey said, “We keep our eyes and ears open for future expansion and obtaining and/or building the equipment we need; and, when we’re ready we’ll put it all together. We’re looking at additional value-added wood products to add value to the products we already produce here. If it’s pattern work, S4S, gang rip, parallel rip or straight line rip, we want to have the ability to do whatever the customer needs to make his bottom line more profitable. We’re looking at doing other things too such as making dragline mats. Our ultimate goal is to get more value out of our wood and maintain the financial stability that we’ve been fortunate to enjoy. I’d like to be the grandfather and the great-grandfather that built the mill that continues for a long time. This is what I love to do. It’s a great industry with great people.”

Josey Lumber Co. Inc. is a member of the North Carolina Forestry Association, Hardwood Manufacturers Association and the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association. To contact Joey Josey who is in charge of lumber sales, call 252-826-5614, or email him at

A view of Josey Lumber’s boiler room is shown here.

Janet Harrell has been with the firm for 20 years and serves as the company’s office manager and bookkeeper.


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