Corey and Wesley Brumbaugh own and operate Brumbaugh Lumber in Shirleysburg, Pennsylvania.
The Brumbaugh brothers have worked with AgChoice Farm Credit over the years as they transitioned into owning the family business.
Brumbaugh Lumber was founded in 1982 by Chester and Carma Brumbaugh. Demand was so great that, in 1986, they purchased their second sawmill, which subsequently burnt down in 1987. In the face of that catastrophe and to keep up with the high demand, Chester and Carma had to run two shifts at their original mill. However, they knew that two shifts at one mill wasn’t sustainable in the long run. So, in 1994, the Brumbaugh’s decided to expand. They upgraded to a double-cut band head saw, which increased production while reducing sawdust.
Growing up in the family business
Chester and Carma’s two sons, Corey and Wesley, have been involved with all aspects of the timber business for most of their lives. At an early age, they accompanied their father and grandfather into the woods to learn about the logging aspect of the business. And during high school, they actively worked in the woods and in the sawmill. Growing up in the industry helped them develop an intimate understanding of the family business, preparing them to take over the family business.
Chester and Carma ran the Brumbaugh mill until their retirement in 2004, at which point they passed the business down Corey and Wesley.
The business today
While both brothers collaborate to make decisions with the day-to-day operations of the mill, Corey manages sales and Wesley leads purchasing.
Brumbaugh Lumber bids on and cuts standing tracts of timber. It also buys material from local loggers who deliver to the mill each week to ensure that they maintain a ready supply of logs to saw. From that, they produce grade lumber, pallet lumber, ties and planks of various thicknesses and lengths, sawdust and chips. Brumbaugh Lumber ships 90 percent of these products to buyers in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia. They export the remaining portion to markets in Canada.
Transitioning to the next generation
When Chester and Carma were ready to transition the business to the next generation, Corey and Wesley decided to seek support from a lender.
Their first stop was a local bank. “It was a challenge explaining what we needed to the representatives at the bank. It seemed like a lot of paperwork, like we were just a number” Corey said. “We knew that if we couldn't diversify and make some other avenues for income, then this might be a short-term business for us.”
Feeling discouraged and uncertain about the future of the family business, Corey and Wesley tried meeting with another lender, AgChoice Farm Credit, and that’s when everything changed.
“At our first meeting with our AgChoice loan officer, we had the feeling that we were on the right track,” Corey said. “And ever since, our relationship with AgChoice has been above and beyond.”
Wesley especially appreciates the specialized attention they receive at AgChoice “The time that our loan officer spends with us is impressive, and they are actually concerned about the questions that we ask,” he said. “Working with AgChoice has been a great benefit for us and I would recommend it to anybody.”
Since they began working with AgChoice, Brumbaugh Lumber has grown dramatically. Thinking about the future, Corey and Wesley hope that they can pass the business down to their children to carry on the family legacy.