Secretary/Treasurer: Connie Smith
"The Thrill of the Chase" - Connie Smith
enjoys running lumber mill in a male-dominated industry - by Elizabeth Doran
, who ran his
own lumber-mill business, was determined to beat his
illness and carry on as usual.
was very independent, practical and strong," recalls Connie Smith
, who now runs Twin Mills Lumber Co.
in Central Square.
just wasn't leaving," she
"Unfortunately, the cancer had other ideas.
lasted for 19 months, and although we hadn't talked about it, I just knew I had to keep the business going."
Seymour Smith, who died at 47, also didn't believe in life insurance, so Connie had an added incentive to slide into the driver's seat.
struggled at first with the pressures of keeping the business rolling, while learning all its aspects.
But in the 13 years since Smith took over, she's become a proficient small-business owner at ease with directing all the operations of a lumber mill.
Today, Smith also is involved in the lumber industry, and in 1998 she became secretary/treasurer of the Empire State Forest Products Association.
continues to run the business on her
own, handling all the purchasing, finances, equipment problems, employees and more.
"I just enjoy the challenge of the business," she
said, "and the challenge of just trying to stay in business.
I like the thrill of the chase."
, at 1379 County Route 4 in Central Square, is a sawmill which processes hardwood logs for the furniture industry.
gets its native hardwoods from landowners and loggers within a 100-mile radius of the mill, and then sells the hardwood wholesale and direct to furniture manufacturers.
Some of its customers include AMF in Lowville, which makes bowling pins using lumber processed by Twin Mills
Other customers include Rex Lumber in Acton, Mass., and Chaplain Hardwoods in Essex Junction, Vt. Twin Mills
has a core customer base of about 50 companies in the Northeast and Canada, Smith
Most customers order a tractor-trailer load, which contains about 8,000 board feet, Smith
Sales at the lumber mill are steady, but Smith
said profit margins are a lot slimmer than in the past.
That's primarily because raw materials are so difficult to secure.
"Competition is very fierce right now for raw materials, because there's so much demand," Smith
"Sales aren't a problem for us at all.
We have many excellent customers who would take more lumber for us if we could produce it.
The recent surge in diesel fuel prices has sliced profit margins even thinner, Smith