Family owned and operated Manchester Lumber Company in Johnson, Vermont was recently honored by the Northeastern Loggers’ Association as “Outstanding Sawmilling Operation for 2011”, receiving due recognition for their success and continued presence in the industry.
According to a recent article, written by Eric Johnson, in the May 2012 issue of The Northern Logger and Timber Processor magazine, mills like Manchester Lumber – green hardwood mills producing between four and five million board feet of lumber annually – have had trouble competing, and many have been either bought up by bigger operations or forced out of business. Neither C.J. Manchester nor his brother Alan give a simple explanation for why they’re still in business while most of their erstwhile competitors are not. They cite reasons why particular operations failed or closed their doors – including poor management decisions as well as wise management decisions – but they chalk their own success up to a determination to hang in there until eventually, things get better.
C.J. explains that their dad, Henry, originally built a mill on this site, which is just on the edge of town, in the early ‘60’s. He had moved his operation from Waterville, where he bought his first mill in the early 1940’s. The mill in Johnson burned in 1981, and they took the opportunity to design and build a state-of-the-art operation – a wise move that continues to pay off.
In addition to Alan, 69, and C.J., 55, C.J.’s wife Sharon runs the office and Alan’s son, Henry, 41 works in the mill. The company employs about 25 people, and runs one 8-hour shift a day.
NELMA congratulates Manchester Lumber Company, a member of NELMA since 1987.