Softwood Forest Products Buyer


Feature Story


At R. H. Smith Lumber Co., located in West Columbia, S.C., Frank Ricard, Lacy Sutton and Mark Smith are the key personnel.
R. H. Smith Lumber Traditional Service, New Edge

West Columbia, S.C.—In operation since 1942, R. H. Smith Lumber Co. first served its clients as a planing mill. Ellie Fink, R. H. Smith’s sister, was put in the office to oversee finances and eventually moved into the production and sale of all lumber items. Smith purchased rough green Southern Yellow Pine from area sawmills.

Frank Ricard, an employee who originally started with the company in 1960, today is one of the yard managers and also the unofficial historian for the company.

“He’s forgotten more about lumberyard operations and woodworking than I’ll ever remember,” Mark Smith, president of the company said. “Frank knows procedures from sawmilling to millworking and he understands the problems of our architect and contractor customers.”

Lacy Sutton, vice president agreed saying, “He’s a most remarkable chap. Customers love him.”

The three men have worked together since the equal partners purchased the 10-acre lumberyard with its office building and
Ricard inspects a stack of Ipe and Massaranduba.
seven lumber sheds in 1987. Today, the company buys 1.5 million board feet of SYP from South Carolina sawmills, and imported Ipe and Massaranduba from a few select wholesalers and distributors.

“We’ll average 30,000 board feet of Massaranduba alone annually,” Smith said. “And that phrase ‘select few’ is important to us because we are so highly specialized ourselves. Customers come to us largely on the recommendation of others, understanding fully that we deal only on top-grade treated SYP and hardwoods for decking, docks and other specialty projects, and we sell Softwoods for quality-seeking architects, contractors and homeowners.”

R. H. Smith Lumber Co. specializes in serving builders of docks and decks, with its five-flatbed trucks delivering to clients in Charleston, Hilton Head, Edisto Island and Beaches, South Carolina state parks and other specialized orders.

Shown here is a portion of the treated Southern Yellow Pine.
“Massaranduba and Ipe are superb for those purposes,” Smith said. “So they are among our prime species, but we can, and will, quickly secure any lumber species our clients may suggest.”

Smith is a 1982 graduate of Clemson University where he received his degree in wood utilization. He has worked as a production manager and held other positions in the industry. Sutton graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1975 with a degree in biology, having experience in sales and personnel in the industry.

Today, according to Smith, the company competes with other lumber suppliers by offering superior quality-treated and untreated SYP and high-density Brazilian imports. He added that the company offers the traditional service with a new edge.

Phone: 803-794-4641

This flatbed truck is one of the trucks R. H. Smith Lumber Co. uses for deliveries in the local area.


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