News Developments – April 2022

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Wisconsin River Partners Acquires Witmer Furniture

Wisconsin River Partners, located in Wausau, WI, continues to expand its portfolio of regional businesses. That now includes Witmer Furniture, a solid wood furniture manufacturer that sells to retailers across the nation.

Witmer Furniture builds quality solid wood furniture including bedroom sets, home office and occasional tables. It purchases all its lumber from U.S. sources and manufactures its products only in the U.S. Lumber species include Birch, Cherry, Red Oak, QS Red Oak, Aspen and Poplar in grades No. 1 Common and Select and Better, in thicknesses of 4/4, 5/4, 6/4 and 8/4.

With about 70 employees, the company has found success selling to home furnishing retailers across the country. Kevin Schlinkmann, the former owner of Witmer Furniture, will continue on as president of the company and as the largest shareholder/investor.

For more information about Wisconsin River Partners, visit www.wisrp.com. For more information about Witmer Furniture, visit www.witmerfurniture.com.

Ethan Allen Expands Manufacturing In North Carolina

Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. (“Ethan Allen” or the “Company”) recently announced that it has further strengthened its vertically integrated enterprise. Through its subsidiary, Ethan Allen Operations, Inc., the Company purchased certain property, plant and equipment assets of Dimension Wood Products, Inc. Founded in 1981 and located in Claremont, NC, Dimension Wood Products, Inc., which purchases Hard and Soft Maple and Beech, is a manufacturer of wood frames and machined parts used in upholstery manufacturing and has been a supplier to Ethan Allen.

Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. is a leading interior design company, manufacturer and retailer in the home furnishings marketplace. The Company is a global luxury home fashion brand that is vertically integrated from product design through home delivery, which offers its customers stylish product offerings, artisanal quality, and personalized service, according to a company press release.

For more information on Ethan Allen’s products and services, visit www.ethanallen.com.

USDA Announces Plan To Fight Wildfires

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore recently launched a comprehensive response to the nation’s growing wildfire crisis. The strategy outlines the need to significantly increase fuels and forest health treatments to address the escalating crisis of wildfire danger that threatens millions of acres and numerous communities across the United States.

The strategy calls for the Forest Service to treat up to an additional 20 million acres on national forests and grasslands and support treatment of up to an additional 30 million acres of other federal, state, Tribal, private and family lands.

Learn more at www.usda.gov.

Biden Administration Issues Business Advisory on Doing Business in Myanmar

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representatives and the Departments of State, Commerce, Labor, Treasury, and Homeland Security released a new Business Advisory recently entitled “Risks and Considerations for Businesses and Individuals with Exposure to Entities Responsible for Undermining Democratic Processes, Facilitating Corruption, and Committing Human Rights Abuses in Burma (Myanmar).”

The advisory warns, as reported by the International Wood Products Association, “Businesses and individuals with potential exposure to, or involvement in operations or supply chains tied to the military regime that do not conduct appropriate due diligence run the risk of engaging in conduct that may expose them to significant reputational, financial, and legal risks, including violations of U.S. anti-money laundering laws and sanctions.”

The business advisory highlights concerns for businesses operating in or connected to Myanmar, including state owned enterprises (“SOEs”) benefitting the military, such as the Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE). SOEs play a dominant role in the oil and gas, mining, postal, energy, and transportation and logistics sectors and are responsible for generating about half of the military regime revenue and spending, and half of the regime budget. In addition to supporting the military regime, the advisory warns many SOEs are subject to allegations of corruption, child and forced labor, surveillance, and other human and labor rights abuses. Military regime leadership as well as several SOEs are subject to OFAC sanctions under Executive Order (“E.O.”) 14014 – Blocking Property With Respect to the Situation in Burma that was issued on February 10, 2021 in response to the military coup. Businesses and individuals involved in dealings with SOEs in Myanmar should conduct appropriate due diligence to ensure they are not furthering corruption within Burma, supporting child or forced labor, or contributing to arbitrary or unlawful surveillance practices, or any other serious human rights abuses.

NWFA Completes 61st Home With Gary Sinise Foundation

The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), headquartered in St. Louis, MO, has provided flooring for its 61st home in support of the Gary Sinise Foundation R.I.S.E. program (Restoring Independence Supporting Empowerment).  The R.I.S.E. program builds custom, specially adapted smart homes for severely wounded veterans and first responders.  The home dedication for United States Air Force Staff Sergeant (Ret.) Brian Schiefer took place recently in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. Flooring was donated by NWFA members Revel Woods and Installers Warehouse.

On November 11, 2008, Staff Sergeant Schiefer was conducting training when his vehicle rolled over. He underwent surgery, followed by time in the ICU and therapy. Today, he continues to adjust to his new life as a paraplegic.

“As a result of his experience, Staff Sergeant Schiefer has become an advocate for patients who endure injuries similar to his own,” says NWFA President and CEO, Michael Martin.

The National Wood Flooring Association is a not-for-profit trade organization, with more than 3,200 member companies world-wide, dedicated to educating consumers, architects, designers, specifiers and builders in the uses and benefits of wood flooring. To learn more, go to www.nwfa.org.

By Miller Wood Trade Publications

The premier online information source for the forest products industry since 1927.

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