Just-In-Time At Jackel Enterprises Inc.

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“As a lumberyard and mill, we are part of a collective stewardship in a unique supply chain, from forest to finished product. We source quality lumber, wood products and services providing a palette of materials to fulfill residential and commercial project needs catering to architects, designers, builders and craftsmen.”

– Steve Jackel, owner and president of Jackel Enterprises Inc.

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Jackel Enterprises Inc., in Watsonville, CA, close to San Francisco, distributes hardwoods, softwoods and imported woods. “The key word in our business is serve; we serve our customers,” said Owner and President Steve Jackel.

Watsonville, California –Jackel Enterprises Inc., headquartered here, distributes hardwoods, softwoods and imported woods. The operation also handles reclaimed woods, live edge slabs, urban woods and offers milled products such as box beams, sidings, ceiling treatments, flooring, moulding and trim packages.

Jackel Enterprises Inc. purchases 100,000 board feet of imported lumber, 250,000 board feet in softwoods and 150,000 board feet in hardwoods annually. Species available in imported woods include African Mahogany, Ipe, Sapele, Jatoba and Teak (FEQ, Select and Better). In softwoods the operation carries and manufactures from Western Red Cedar, Redwood, Alaskan Yellow Cedar, Ponderosa Pine, Sugar Pine, Hemlock and Douglas Fir (4/4, 6/4, 8/4, 10/4, Moulding and Better). Hardwood species include Alder, Cherry, Maple, Red and White Oak, Poplar and Walnut (4/4, 8/4, 10/4, 20/4 FAS, Select and Better).

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From the left, are Steve Jackel and his son Noah Jackel with live edge slabs.

Owner and President Steve Jackel became involved in the forest products industry by making dulcimer instruments from Claro Walnut. The dulcimer is a fretted string instrument made from wood. It typically has three or four strings and was originally played in the Appalachian region of the United States. Jackel said after selling the instruments he began to get lumber requests. He sold both lumber and dulcimers for about 16 years before deciding to focus solely on selling lumber and manufacturing products. “I was a partner in what could only be called a folk business. We were in a barn and made dulcimers which we distributed around the United States. We were selling them mainly to music stores and, because of the nature of the wood we were purchasing, I got into selling extra wood to the public. As time went on, I discovered my archetype was a merchant as opposed to an artisan.”

Today the operation encompasses a two-acre, 40,000-square-foot shop, mill and lumberyard purchased and expanded in 2016.

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Sapele is one species of exotic woods handled by Jackel Enterprises.

“As a lumberyard and mill, we are part of a collective stewardship in a unique supply chain, from forest to finished product,” Jackel explained. “We source quality lumber, wood products and services providing a palette of materials to fulfill residential and commercial project needs catering to architects, designers, builders and craftsmen.”

“Our focus is on value-added production,” he continued. “We have two L200 Nyle dry kilns. So, if we have a job where we are using bigger timbers for smaller boards, we have the capacity to resaw, sticker and dry. The selling of lumber is greatly influenced by trends as opposed to actual functionality. As a consequence, Western Red Cedar is in high demand worldwide. There is a limited supply. Our clients want it, although there might be woods that are similar in function but not in appearance. Alaskan Yellow Cedar is just as functional, but the appearance is significantly different along with the pricing.”

Jackel Enterprises’ products and lumber have appeared in some high-profile and interesting places. However, Jackel said he’s not able to release any details. “We’ve signed non-disclosure agreements for most of these jobs. We aren’t allowed to take photos in some instances. Once we had a project that had 12,000 feet of color-selected Hemlock and 25,000 square-feet of engineered 8-inch wide, rift White Oak flooring in just one house.”

He continued, “We did a fence that was hand-split Redwood from salvaged trees for an equestrian horse ranch. That job required a lot of reclaimed Redwood bridge timbers. That was also for a high-profile client. So, we get engaged in high-end projects that are architecturally demanding in the Bay Area.”

When asked what sets Jackel Enterprises apart from his friendly competitors he indicated experience, quality and value-added services are at the top of the list. “I’ve been in the woodworking industry for 50 years. The primary goal at Jackel Enterprises is to supply lumber and value-added products at the highest standard. We place importance on our customers, meeting all of their needs. We’re not car salesmen; we’re wood people. We want the job, but we want to be sure it’s the right material for the job. We have a significant ability to assure this because of our experience. The key word in our business is serve; we serve our customers.”

He also noted that while the company is small with only 12 employees, it has the ability to compete on a larger scale. “For a small company, we have capacity for high volume. We can compete with anybody in terms of capacity.”

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This home received a deck made of Teak from Jackel Enterprises.

Jackel Enterprises responded to the global pandemic by growing its just-in-time operations. “We’re very nimble,” Jackel said. “We’ve lowered our inventory and strengthened our trading partnerships where we can buy and sell per job. The jobs are of a size that enables us to do that even when the supply chain has been difficult. There was a period when we were selling projects and the price of inventory doubled in a period of a year. It would take 90 days to get a smaller purchasing number than we would normally buy. At one point a full truckload of Cedar went from $90,000 to $180,000. That wasn’t practical and it was difficult to operate under those circumstances. With our trading partners, we’ve been able to make adjustments and meet the needs faster.”

Jackel initially set up shop in his own home. “It was just me, a pickup truck and a phone,” he recalled. Two years into his new venture, Jackel moved the company into a warehouse, then relocated again in 1998. The company finally moved into its new location in 2016.

Jackel, who runs the company with his son, Noah (vice president), sells about 95 percent of the company’s products to other businesses. “We sell to cabinet shops, product manufacturers and high-end residential and commercial contractors,” said Jackel, whose firm also encompasses an urban forestry division (West Coast Woods) and a manufacturing firm dedicated to making real wood box beams. Through the former, the company salvages street trees, urban fall-downs and institutional tree removals, and converts the logs into lumber and live-edge slabs.

Jackel Enterprises Inc. is Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified. For more information visit www.JackelEnterprises.com.

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