Business park marketing efforts get funding boost

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Local efforts to recruit prospects for the developing LinBrookBusiness Park received a boost Monday with a $15,000 donation tomarket the property.

Members of the Industrial Development Committee of theBrookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce met briefly Monday atColumbus Lumber Company to tour the local company and to accept adonation from the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi andSouthwest Mississippi Electric Power Association.

“We certainly want to be a part of economic development inLincoln County and we’re excited about the prospects at LinBrookBusiness Park,” said Tim Mood, vice president of economicdevelopment for EPA of Mississippi, which represents 11 ruralelectric power associations across the state.

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Kevin Bonds, manager of engineering for SWMEPA, agreed.

“We look forward not only to the business park, but also thegrowth of the community resulting from it,” he said.

Following the presentation, approximately 20 committee memberswere treated to a tour of Columbus Lumber Company’s operations byco-owners Jeff Grierson and Doug Boykin.

Grierson and Boykin explained how the private company cancompete in an industry dominated by giants like Weyerhauser andGeorgia-Pacific by targeting niches and producing specializedquality lumber.

“We don’t market to the big box retail outlets, like Lowe’s orHome Depot, because that’s a losing proposition for us,” Griersonsaid. “We market to specific customers who want a higher qualityproduct.”

Volume of sales is less important than marketing ahighly-desirable product that meets exacting demands beyond thosethat are standard in the industry, he said.

The business’ niche market has created a dedicated customer baseacross the eastern seaboard and the South, Boykin said.

The company is able to meet those high demands by maintainingstate-of-the-art equipment and a loyal employee base, Griersonsaid. An expensive computer upgrade that manages the saws last yearenabled the company to both get more board footage from each logand reduce waste from 7 percent to 2.5 percent.

Additionally, even the waste can be used, he said. The bark andchips are sold to local companies and the saw dust is used to fuelthe company’s lumber drying kilns.