Pictured are (from left) Craig Pharr, the late Jimmy Pharr, founder of the company, and Matthew Pharr of Marietta Wood Supply Inc., Marietta, MS, a multi-generational lumber sawmill that has thrived through 36 years in the industry.
Marietta Wood Supply Continues Strong Work Ethic Of Founding Father
By Gary Miller
Marietta, MS¨CNestled in the rolling hills of Northeast Mississippi sets a lumber sawmill, Marietta Wood Supply Inc., whose humble origin dates back 36 years when one man set up a portable mill here. Jimmy Pharr moved from Georgia to start that business in 1978 in this small town, whose population today is around 250. His vision for this enterprise¡¯s future was perfectly clear. He realized the surrounding area was rich in quality Hardwood timber tracts, and that this town was conveniently situated within close proximity of Southeastern furniture manufacturing plants that needed well sawn, and well-processed, lumber for their furniture, as well as flooring products, both domestically and as export items.
From that original mill, Pharr, who was eventually joined in business by his son Craig and daughter-in-law Lisa, focused on customer-oriented service, quality products, and was guided by a deep abiding Christian faith that underscores honesty. They named the company Marietta Wood Supply Inc., and it has grown from one mill with five employees to five sawmills that cut approximately 25 million board feet annually.
That growth is the result of the Pharr family¡¯s strong work ethic and dedication to service to customers, which they share with their staff. Regrettably, Marietta Wood Supply¡¯s founding father, Jimmy, passed away this year after a rewarding life not only as a lumberman, but also as a civil servant, an Army veteran, a church leader and father. He was also a devoted husband for 49 years to wife Nell, who supervised administrative duties at the company prior to Lisa joining the firm.
Marietta Wood Supply purchases timber from surrounding states.
His loyalty to the company, and his enjoyment in his work, were evident right up until his death.
¡°I will always miss my father,¡± commented Craig Pharr. ¡°He worked hard throughout his life and right up till near his death over at the James C. Pharr Sawmill. He came to Marietta after having portable sawmills in Georgia. He had been sawing softwoods before moving here, specifically southern yellow pine. But after moving to Marietta, Hardwoods became our focus.¡±
Craig joined his father¡¯s business in 1984, when the lumber industry was struggling to recover from recessionary times that depressed this country¡¯s economy in the early 1980s. The Pharrs persevered through those tough times and slowly grew their promising Hardwood sawmills.
In 1994, Lisa Pharr joined the staff as office manager. She and Craig had grown up in the Marietta/Booneville area, graduated from the same high school, and after marriage, committed to remain in their hometown tending to the business that the elder Pharr created.
¡°When I began with the company, we had only five employees, but through the past 14 years or so have added mills and people and are blessed because we stay busy, and we work hard as a company because we care greatly about how our products turn out. Our customers rely on us for quality lumber and that¡¯s our goal,¡± Lisa noted.
Terry Pierce grades lumber, along with Joe Melson, and oversees Marietta Wood Supply¡¯s dry kilns.
¡°I¡¯m very proud of my wife¡¯s contribution and work here,¡± said Craig. ¡°She oversees every facet of administration, which frees me up to be very active and involved in our yards and mills. It is a real family and team effort that makes this work every day. God has really blessed us.¡±
Today, Marietta Wood Supply inventories Red and White Oak, Poplar, Ash, Walnut, Cherry and Hickory, all in 4/4 and 5/4 thicknesses, with the exception of Poplar, which is offered in 4/4 -10/4. Onsite are two dry kilns with drying capacity of 100,000 board feet per charge and a kiln-dried warehouse that averages 300,000 board feet of lumber at all times.
Craig noted that Marietta Wood Supply additionally produces frame stock, green and flooring lumber, pallet cants and railroad ties. The company¡¯s timber is purchased from surrounding states.
¡°We are committed to excellent customer service and we strive to meet the special needs our customers may have,¡± Craig added. ¡°Our lumber is pulled to different widths as specified by our customers and is inspected after kiln-drying. We also work hard to deliver in an efficient manner so we have our own trucks for that purpose, and we offer mixed loads of lumber.¡±
Marietta Wood Supply inventories Red and White Oak, Poplar, Ash, Walnut, Cherry and Hickory, all in 4/4 and 5/4 thicknesses, with the exception of Poplar, which is offered in 4/4¨C10/4.
The Pharrs are surrounded by a staff that strives to meet the same exemplary work ethic that Jimmy Pharr demonstrated as their founder. Key personnel at Marietta Wood Supply include: Tom Lynn, kiln-dried sales; Terry Pierce, who oversees the dry kilns and grades lumber with Joe Melson; Landon Calley, lumber grader and logistics; and Robert Wouldridge, a veteran lumberman at Marietta Wood Supply for 19 years.
The Pharr¡¯s son Matthew is a minister who recently began working in the family¡¯s sawmill office and their daughter Cristin is a college freshman.
Marietta Wood Supply is a member of the Mississippi Lumber Manufacturers Association and National Hardwood Lumber Association.
For more information about this company¡¯s products, please contact the following:
Among the five mills on Marietta Wood Supply¡¯s property, the company¡¯s kiln-dried warehouse averages 300,000 board feet of lumber at all times. The company¡¯s two dry kilns have a drying capacity of 100,000 board feet per charge.
Marietta Wood Supply, in addition to lumber, produces frame stock, green and flooring lumber, pallet cants and railroad ties.
Marietta has grown from one mill 36 years ago with five employees to five sawmills today.
Marietta Wood Supply currently cuts approximately 25 million board feet of lumber annually.