Employees, diverse products drive success at Timber Wolf

Oct. 20, 2013 @ 06:54 AM

In its 15 years of operation, Timber Wolf Forest Products has evolved from selling a handful of furniture components to a small group of large furniture companies in the area, to a company with a vast catalog of products and wide range of customers.

Timber Wolf was founded in October 1998 and started manufacturing its own legs, posts and other furniture parts in 2001.

Owner Randy Roper, looking for a name for his new enterprise, didn’t want to use his last name and wanted a memorable, meaningful name. An avid hunter, making trips west to hunt, Roper chose Timber Wolf.

Until around 2009, the company mainly manufactured furniture components for the big furniture makers such as Thomasville, Broyhill, Bernhardt and Kincaid, said Madison Roper, vice president of sales and son of Randy Roper. Madison's sister Holly Penell,  aunt Nancy Webb, and mother Rita Roper also work at Timber Wolf.

Madison came on board with the company in 1999, and after a stint away from the company as a financial advisor from 2000 to 2006 returned as the company was noticing the first signs of the furniture industry’s shift to overseas operations.

Timber Wolf has “fought like Tyson in the 15th round” for the past couple years, Roper said, and around 2009-10, the company took a long, hard look at itself and decided to diversify.

Ten years ago, 90 percent of Timber Wolf’s customers were within 50 miles of its front door, but now, less than 45 percent of the company’s customers are in that radius, Roper said.

With a new leg program geared toward the cabinet industry, a new website showcasing more than 500 items in seven kinds of wood, and a new print catalog, Timber Wolf started to see improvements. Sales doubled from 2011 to 2012, and the company has grown 300 percent this year, Roper said. About half of the customers still are furniture companies, a quarter are hotel and hospitality companies, about 22 percent are cabinet companies, and the remainder are those seeking architectural millwork.

The newest effort to diversify didn’t come from the furniture or cabinet industries, it came from pantyhose. Working with the Hosiery Association, a trade organization for U.S. legwear manufacturers and suppliers, Timber Wolf was able to gain a contract to be the only company making a universal size tester for pantyhose, the first of its kind.

This expansion is bringing approximately 10 new jobs and $40,000 in new investment over the next year. The company currently has 22 employees at its 32,000-square-foot facility on Freezer Locker Road in Hudson.

Timber Wolf moved into the building in 2008, refurbishing a vacant Kincaid building to add offices and a full-service kitchen, where a home-cooked meal is cooked for the employee’s lunch every day.

Roper said with the 10 new positions, the company is looking for people with experience running lathes and machining, and especially for someone who can build lathe heads, which they still do in-house at Timber Wolf, Roper calling it somewhat of a lost art. Timber Wolf is looking to fill the positions immediately, and has already found a few candidates, Roper said. Those interested can contact Timber Wolf at 828-728-7500.