Small businesses are important to communities and running a business is tough work. That’s why we feature a small business in one of our communities every month!
Look around America’s small towns and it’s sometimes hard to find skilled craftsmen making quality goods. That’s why Jackson is fortunate to have Tim’s Wood Shop, a small business in the community for more than thirty years.
One key to success has been their ability to change with the times and with customer demand, according to owner Tim Crabtree. The Oak Hill native actually started the business as a furniture shop in 1977. Tim said it had long been his dream to make furniture professionally but soon realized that making a living in this field would be challenging in southern Ohio. At the same time, he saw a demand for high quality custom doors and wood trims so he left furniture making for this more secure business model in 1987.
Growing the business over time, Tim has earned a reputation for quality products and service.
But the business has continued to evolve in recent years as the demand for custom wood flooring has increased so much that it is now the focus of the business. “There is a lot of competition but our niche is that we do have a quality product. It’s better than what you will find elsewhere,” he said.
Most of their flooring is made with rift quarter sawn white oak but he noted they are happy to make flooring from any Appalachian hardwood that they can acquire including red oak and walnut.
While engineered flooring now comprises about half of the wood flooring market, Tim said there are different advantages and disadvantages to both engineered and hardwood flooring. For example, the price of flooring found in big box stores is lower but the veneer is often easily ruined by moisture. On the other hand, hardwood floors can be repeatedly repaired with sanding and refinishing. “What we do is more durable, the millwork is better and honestly, it’s a better long term investment,” he said.
The business is a family affair with help from Tim’s brother as well as Tim’s wife Lois who helps run the shop. An experienced woodworker in her own right, Lois helps with creating the chevron and herringbone floors. She said that most customers choose traditional plank flooring but there is a good market for these specialty floors.
She also explained that they offer two grades of wood – “Select grade” which typically is without flaws and has consistent color as well as “Character grade” which may have knots, variation in color and other small flaws. “It just depends on your taste and what you’re looking for,” she said, explaining that most customers choose the better grade while some still prefer the character that comes with flaws.
They sell their products locally as well as to distributors across Ohio and in other states.
In addition to themselves, Tim’s Wood Shop currently employs six people but they are looking for workers who have experience as well as those who are interested in learning. “We’re as busy as we’ve ever been so we do need help,” he said. “We’re better than a big company on quality and sometimes we’re even more efficient but we do need good workers to make that work.”
Tim said they are always looking for ways to improve efficiency. One way they have done this is by transforming sawdust into firewood. The sawdust is turned into two pound bricks that are pure wood. Virtually ash free and creosote free, they have no additives or bugs and are a popular firewood source in the area. It sells for $175 a ton. Tim credits the Jackson County Economic Development Partnership for a $20,000 grant that helped fund the $92,000 machine used to create this product.
Tim’s Wood Shop is located on Athens Street, near Osco in Jackson. The large blue building has served many purposes over the years and was once a King Edward Cigar factory. Look closely at one side of the building to see a King Edward ad.
Want to know more? Tim’s Wood Shop is located at 117 Athens Street and is open 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Click here to visit their website or call 740.286.4535.