Happy New Year !
Reading the papers, 2011 seems to be shaping up to be a better year for the economy. Employment is expected to rise, sales are starting to move upward, and the stock market has been posting gains. Still, it's a tough time to be in wood. Housing starts are low and are expected to stay that way for the foreseeable future. A recent New York Times article discussed a housing "double-dip" as home prices are falling again. What can wood products businesses do to cope? One way is to explore new or niche markets; James Stupack, a Montana logger, survived by turning low-grade logs into "character pieces" for artistic fencing and cabins. Another method is to tap into technology, particularly the Internet. Niagara Lumber, a sawmill southeast of Buffalo, has an online store on its site. Customers can purchase lumber, moulding, and even doors directly online and have their order shipped to them.
WoodNet's strategy is to tap into 21st century marketing. As mentioned in the last issue, we are exploring a WoodNet online store. If you are a wood products company in the Catskills, you have probably already received a survey from us asking about your knowledge and interest in the store and online sales. If you haven't received one, or if you've misplaced yours, please contact me, and I will send one out to you. An online store is a daunting task, and we really need your help!
The challenges for the wood products industry in 2011 are great, but hidden in great challenge is great opportunity.
All the best,
Wood Products Utilization and Marketing Specialist
Watershed Agricultural Council Forestry Program
(607) 865-7790 ext. 112[email protected]