By Tony Kryzanowski, Wood-Mizer Contributing Author
Over 25 years in business, Kevin Wenstob owner of Wenstob Timber and Xemex Industries has shown a knack for taking advantage of opportunities to expand and diversify his wood product business. The result has been steady growth. “Expanding our market and horizon has brought the biggest success,” Kevin says.
Headquartered on Vancouver Island, in Sooke, British Columbia, the company produces cedar, fir, maple, hemlock and yellow cedar wood products, timbers, and custom table slabs, serving both the wholesale and retail markets primarily on South Vancouver Island. “What our customers value most are the competitive prices we offer along with the quality that comes off our mills,” said Kevin. Wenstob Timber sells a wide variety of wood products, from as small as 1" x 1" cedar and fir squares to table slabs measuring 4' wide and 16' long, and any dimension their equipment can manage in-between.
Kevin grew up in Barkley Sound and went into the sawmilling business at 16 years old. Kevin’s philosophy of maximizing the value from each log and maintaining a high level of product quality has served him well over the years. “We started from pretty much a backyard business, to supplying strictly to wholesale stores in the Victoria area, to now running our own retail lumber yard and wholesale business, while operating a logging business at the same time,” says Kevin. “It has taken a lot of sweat, hard work and business sense to get where we are now.” Wenstob has grown to a team of 12 employees filling orders and working with both wholesale and retail customers.
The backbone of Wenstob are two Wood-Mizer sawmills -- a LT70 Hydraulic and an LT40 Super Hydraulic with a resaw attachment. “Ease of use and reliability are the two most important factors why we chose Wood-Mizer,” says Kevin. “We run .045 x 1 ½" x 158" 7/39 blades. Through our experiences, we have found them to work the best for us.” They also recently purchased a Wood-Mizer BMS250 automatic blade sharpener and BMT250 automatic dual tooth setter to sharpen and set their own blades as a time saver. “When we can do it ourselves, we do,” says Kevin. “It saves us time and money. Guys tend to take better care of the blades when they are the ones that have to fix the problem.”
Wood is sourced from a variety of suppliers from mid to south island. The company also remanufactures wood from fiber sourced on the mainland in Vancouver. On a typical day, both the Wood-Mizer sawmills are in full production mode, with two sawyers at the helm and two helpers. They produce between 55,000 and 75,000 board feet of material per month and have milled more than 8 million board feet combined of timber throughout the years.
Kevin always keeps his eye on the horizon, and the key to success is perseverance and not being afraid to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. “Just keep on going,” Kevin says to those looking to start out in a wood product venture or trying to grow their business. “Ask for advice, listen to advice, and make your own calls.”
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