West Coast Business Trends

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Hardwood suppliers on the West Coast mostly accounted for positive activity. One contact in California mentioned activity was back to pre-covid “normal” levels. “Our business along with our customers is back to a steady pace,” he explained. “The customers that we had that were steady are back to that pace and the ones that were sporadic are also back to normal,” he laughed.

Handling all domestic hardwoods in mostly 4/4 through 8/4, the supplier said some items are offered in thicker stocks up to 12/4. “Our best moving item is 4/4 Rift White Oak currently,” he said. “The slowest items we have are probably Ash and Cherry.”

As for what he attributes to the improved market activity the contact said, “Los Angeles is a dynamic market and building is huge in this area right now.” He expects hardwood activity to continue to improve in the months ahead.

In Oregon a hardwood supplier who handles most domestic hardwoods in 4/4 and 5/4 said his activity has also been strong. He offered, “Our hardwood activity is importing and exporting hardwood lumber. Most of the activity is steady.”

Also supplying components manufactured from 4/4 and 8/4 hardwoods, he said specialty items in Hard Maple are moving the best for his operation at this time.

He also mentioned that his online markets are somewhat slower. “We do some internet sales and those markets have slowed down a bit,” he explained. “That all started around tax season and it hasn’t picked back up much.”

When asked about transportation he said, “We aren’t having any transportation issues. We attribute that to doing good business and building relationships with the ones we have.”

As for the next few months, he said, “I expect we’ll continue to see improvement in our sales.”

Another California hardwood supplier said, “Our hardwood markets have been order to order. The orders are there, but you have to work for them. Business is still decent although we haven’t seen much change since the beginning of the year.”

The contact offers Walnut, Hickory and White Oak in 4/4 thickness and in grades FAS, Nos. 1 and 2. “Right now White Oak is moving very well. Our slowest moving item is Hickory,” he noted.

He mentioned his customers’ markets are not as busy as they were but they aren’t complaining. “Everybody is looking for just-in-time inventory right now. Nobody’s ready to commit to anything, but when they call you better be ready to go. If you don’t have inventory then you’re not going to be making sales. I bring the same products in on a regular basis that these guys use on a regular basis and everybody’s happy with the 30 days or less situation.”

Going forward he said, “Interest rates are making things difficult for everybody right now. In California the prices of houses are a joke. People aren’t moving. What they are doing is remodeling their houses instead of moving. They have the equity but they’re not going anywhere so there’s not a lot of houses on the market. I think with the interest rates as they are and the upcoming election everything is going to be idle for the next few months.”

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By Miller Wood Trade Publications

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

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By Miller Wood Trade Publications

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

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