Thursday, December 29, 2011

Spring Green Timber Growers Sales and Jobs Shoot Up 500%

A combination of factors increased our sales this year in a multi-facetted global wood products marketing campaign.   Sure we have nice wood with a good story, but it is the hard and creative work by Timber Growers staff that has made our small local business a world-wide success.  My choice is to hire really smart people, teach them a little woodworking, and give them the freedom to express themselves.  My store managers in particular have taken Timber Growers to a higher orbit of sales success this year.

First, Amie Fisher and Matt Van Susteren have taken our salvaged dead elm, oak, birch, walnut, & cherry timber and created a unique product line that people love to see and touch.  Each piece is a one-of-a-kind work of art and love.  Amie is a painter and Matt is a potter, but recently they put their minds to woodworking and have thrived.

One year ago they introduced our wood products on a website for hand made products - - and our internet sales took off in the month before Christmas.  This year sales of Christmas gifts and ornaments became our main business – with an increase of 500% over last year.  We have already hired more workers and I plan to double our production and staff again in 2012. 

In addition to retail internet sales, Fisher and Van Susteren have developed a wholesale catalog of our wood products and are quickly developing that market also.  Cutting boards and corporate gifts are popular wholesale products.  Wholesale shows and working with manufacturing representatives are generating growing interest quickly.

The duo also has taken finished products to Retail shows in Chicago and Vancouver, gaining sales and exposure for their beautiful wood creations. 

Local sales in the Timber Growers store downtown Spring Green and the flooring sales at Timbergreen Farm have not been sustainable in 2011, so the diversity of marketing programs and products has been essential to our business growth.   We will keep working hard on the store and flooring installation business to promote the use of locally grown and manufactured forest products.

Beautiful, Artistic, Hand-Crafted, Natural, Sustainably-Harvested, Solar Kiln-Dried, Solid wood products command high market demand and value, allowing me to put a growing number of people to work, utilizing just a portion of the trees that naturally die each year in our 200 acre forest here at Timbergreen Farm.  I choose to sell products that are as natural as possible, using the smallest tools practical, and maintaining the maximum amount of human touch and love.

Jim Birkemeier – Timber Grower!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Buying Local in a Global Economy

Buying Local In the Global Economy

We have all chosen to buy lots of ‘cheap’ and ‘convenient’ stuff as we have lived the good lifestyle on plentiful natural resources while accumulating thoughtless and irresponsible debt.  Cheap stuff comes at a very high price. 

We are all responsible for our current economic crisis and the shortage of jobs.  Take a close look at what you have bought the last few years….   We can also change things – starting right now – to develop the best economic position possible for our future.

Many people apparently think ‘buy local’ means shopping for imported stuff on sale at the neighborhood big box store.  Lusting over imported manufactured stuff has exported our money and our jobs.   American industry and jobs have crumbled away.   We export our natural resources, ship materials half way around the world, minimize labor and production costs, ship the products back half way around the world – then complain we have recession and unemployment!!

Every purchase you make is a real vote that immediately counts to affect the future of our planet.  Every purchase you make builds up the company and country where the thing is from.   Every purchase you make has a political effect too, as the big companies exert real and immediate influence on our politicians.

We have created this monster we face today with our selfish and short-sighted purchases.  We can choose to change this now – just stop feeding the monster and it will go away.

How to “Create Jobs”
Today, most of the stuff we buy is made in a big factory with big machines and robots and likely in another country.  Government Regulations and Legal Lawsuits make labor very expensive in America.  Americans everyday are more lazy and fat - and in love with welfare, and the lottery.   Then we say, “we must create more jobs….”

All the politicians talk about creating jobs, yet fail to address the real problems.  Government does a thousand times more to discourage American jobs than the feeble efforts of talk and “stimulus”. 

As a business owner – one thing would get me to hire more employees – SALES!!  Government on the State and Federal Level has been a huge hindrance to my business for decades.  They should just get out of the way – today more than ever!

Globalization has CHANGED the planet
The internet – instant global communications – is the most amazing creation ever.  The airplane is second.  Earth – our economics – has truly changed and there is no going back.

Everyone needs to travel and watch the rest of the world to have a realistic picture of where you fit into the big picture and your effect on others.  Most people choose to be ignorant and don’t want to believe their lifestyle is very wasteful and damaging to the planet.

Homo Sapiens are being Homogenized.  Worker wages are being pressured to a more common-ground level.  High paid American workers will get less in the future and workers in the Far East will demand more.  There is no stopping this trend – a wise person will work within it to arrive at the best position possible for themselves.

We are mixing it up today around the world – nothing is hidden and there is no excuse for ignorance.  Seeing how much we are all about the same is our best hope for survival now.  We are all in this together and better learn to get along.

The Most Powerful Force On Earth
The best chance we have is to rebuild our local economies and communities that have been destroyed by the big corporations.  We created them ourselves with our lusts for cheap and convenience, and we can change the world by making smarter spending decisions - from now on.  The American Woman – the Shopper – is the most powerful force on earth today.  The Shopper has the free choice to support whatever company and country with the power of their purchase.  The Shopper is the one who can create jobs with their votes.  Every single vote counts.

Simple Steps to Change the Economy:
  1. Buy As Local As Possible
  2. Buy from a company As Small As Possible
  3. Drive as little as Possible
  4. Do the Opposite (of what got us here)

Big is Bad – most of the time….
Generalizations are not all true, but the long term trends now show the route we are going - being dominated by bigger and bigger corporations that dominate the Government also – are not good or sustainable for most humans. 

Do the opposite of what the big corporations and their puppet politicians want you to do.
Be discerning when listening to their talk. 
If you feed the monster – don’t complain when you get bitten!

People all over are very angry, fearful, and without much hope. 

There is HOPE
The American Dream of one person making a difference is now a Global Possibility for any human being.   The information and tools are becoming more freely available everywhere today.   Grab Globalization and take advantage of the good alternatives.

Most people may not care, but for those who choose – great opportunities are present today.  has detailed articles

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How to fix the economy - starting today!

We are all responsible for the economic recession and the shortage of jobs.
The majority, the middle class, the masses.

Humans have built huge factories, huge machines, legions of robots that replace human workers.  We allow our natural resources to be exported as cheap commodities to foreign countries – subsidizing big global corporations.   By choosing ‘cheap’ stuff in the big stores and ‘convenience’, we have exported our money and our jobs.

A universal solution:  Create community based businesses that help meet the needs of local fresh food, wood products, and renewable energy.  We should use our local resources to support good jobs in the local economy.   We can keep our money in the local economy.   We can choose to not subsidize the huge global corporations, buying as local as possible from small businesses.

Government can’t and won’t fix the economy or create the jobs claimed.   Government is controlled by the big corporations too.

We can change all this – starting today – by making wise purchases that immediately build up our local economy and support local jobs.  Every single purchase we make has an immediate effect on our future – a vote that truly counts and makes a difference each time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

If Only Trump Were KING

If Only Trump Were King!
April 27, 2011 Trump claimed he could beat Obama to be President.
First day he would take on China and impose a 25% tax of all imports.
Then he would tame OPEC and take control of the oil market.
If only Trump Could Be King
But this is the U.S.A. 
Can’t happen. 
Even if he is elected President in 2012, he would not have the power to change much.

Our government is needed for Law and Order, but government trying to manage the economy is the biggest disaster of all.   

A new choice we can all make today….
Stop exporting our money and jobs buying cheap imports in the big box stores.
Choose to use local resources to support the local economy, jobs and lifestyles.
Promote local fresh food, wood products, biofuels and waste energy recovery.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cheap Chinese stuff floods the market

Can a Small Business Compete with China?
My wood flooring business competes directly with China every day!
Cheap imported wood flooring is flooding the U.S. market right now.
Most people just want cheap and convenient - at this moment.

I think LOCAL, use what I have right here that fills a local need.
I have to Be SMART, Flexible, Fast
I tell my local story every chance I get
Educating the consumer is a constant effort
I cut out all the middlemen/brokers/shippers/wholesalers
I sell finished wood products direct to the retail customer
I Install my wood products right in my customer’s home
Service after the sale keeps satisfied customers
I sell Solid, Natural, Unique, Custom-made works of wood art

A few people seem to appreciate the value of using local wood.


Monday, March 28, 2011

The solution is CLEAR tonight - March 28 2011

The Big Corps are running the government and avoiding paying their fair share of supporting needed government services - to keep all the money for themselves.
The government isn’t going to do anything – really.  Can’t really blame any of them – that is how things work today.

We can fix this ourselves by making wise purchases – we actually do have the power and the votes with what we choose to buy every day.  Our dollars are our power.

We must take full responsibility for the results of our purchases – choose cheap stuff at the big Corporate stores and you have created the whole mess yourself.

We can’t fight ourselves and have any hope – we must see the real picture and be smarter – starting right now.

Buy from small local companies as much as possible.  Avoid buying imports and cheap stuff – as much as possible.

We have the numbers and we can instantly communicate – there is no reason to let the big Corporations continue to dominate us.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cairo and Tripoli and Madison??

OK, You spoiled rich kids can protest and “fight for your rights” = you can do that here.  Do you have to be so NOISY?   Can you be more informed?

But anyone who thinks what the people in Madison are doing is IN ANY WAY COMPARABLE to the demonstrations in the Middle East – you should be totally ashamed of your ignorance.

When you travel to developing countries and see how most of the people in this world live day to day, There is no Comparison.
They have no money, no benefits, no rights to speak of – and they are truly risking their lives and livelihoods right now.

We are so rich and spoiled and grossly wasteful and unappreciative and arrogant - here in Wisconsin and the U.S.A. 

It is too bad that all the energy in Madison is not doing anything positive.   Globalization keeps happening here in Wisconsin and unless that is understood and incorporated into the solution – everyone has totally missed the point. 

If this effort and energy was focused on rebuilding our economy instead of tearing everyone down – miracles could happen right now.

All people are doing in Madison is trying to hold onto the riches we had before we exported our jobs and money overseas.   Too Late!

We need to look at what resources we have right here and use them to meet our local and regional needs.
We need to stop buying cheap imported stuff at the big box store – for our “convenience” and exporting our money and jobs.

No Politician or Media will voice this – they are controlled by the big Corporations.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Choosing the Right Flooring FEELS Good!

Choosing the Right Flooring – it even feels good, says Kathy Bastin

Using locally grown and manufactured hardwood flooring is now among the dozens of choices for wood flooring, although this new option is actually an old one. Many people believe that is the healthiest, most beautiful, and “greenest” option of all.

This may not be an option in some places today due to first the industrialization then second the globalization of the timber industry.  A growing number of small businesses in SW Wisconsin and other parts of the U.S. now again are making locally grown wood products available to homeowners.

Kathy Bastin of Spring Green, Wisconsin explained why she had a local wood floor installed in her home.  “I hated the tiles and the carpeting was hard to maintain with two boys and two dogs.  Just the carpet cleaning cost hundreds of dollars each year.  Wood is so easy to keep clean.   It feels good that the trees were grown right here.  The installer let me do some of the work, giving me the opportunity to learn something new.  Now I work for the company part time making and installing flooring myself.  It is good to work with people with passion for the earth.”   This solid wood will outlast the building, unlike the manufactured or plywood imported flooring that soon ends up in a landfill.

Lynne Weil of Black Earth says “I Love my floor.  It is not just having a unique and awesome floor – it is feeling good about doing the right thing.  I know that no tree was cut in the rainforest, and very little energy was used to make and ship the wood, and it provided for local jobs.  I know that every time I see my floor.” 

Lynne and her Husband Peter had first visited the Spring Green Timber Growers store, sawmill, solar heated kilns, workshop, and forest.   Timber Growers harvest just a small portion of the trees that naturally die in their 200 acre forest each year.  The logging is done with the smallest possible equipment and the average distance the logs are moved to the sawmill is 900 yards.  A WoodMizer sawmill is used, quartersawing most straight logs for the spectacular grain patterns and greater stability.  Solar heated lumber dry kilns are Timber Growers claim to fame and the most visible sign the business is truly sustainable.  An old dairy barn was converted into dry lumber storage and warm workshop for making the flooring.  Workers deliver and install and finish the natural wood flooring right in the customer’s home – promising satisfaction guaranteed.  Low VOC water based polyurethane varnish is normally used, though some people prefer a natural oil finish.

Weil added, “We got to know a neighbor, a local person who we can see cares about the environment just like we do.  Buying local wood direct from the grower takes you back to a simpler, more organic time – before everything went global.”   Some people trust in global eco-certification systems that typically have insufficient field staff to verify their claims.  Knowing the producer is more reassuring than a label on a box.

Mary Devitt from Cross Plains said, “Terry and I both Love our new floor.  It is a unique work of art and every board is unique.  I especially love the inlay “flourish” that uses a piece of walnut my Dad cut years ago.  This floor grounds us.  We get to know it more each day, one board at a time.”   To operate the business in a sustainable manner, Timber Growers must sell what their forest naturally produces.  Each floor is an extension of the natural forest of the region.  Using nearly all of the lumber from each tree and mixing different species just as in the natural forest – these floors are stunningly beautiful.  Devitt’s floor is red oak, white oak, and elm – with a touch of walnut – just like the forest that surrounds their home.

Kelly Pankratz of Belleville also chose local wood for her dining room floor.  “For six months I shopped at every flooring store in the Madison area.  When I discovered Timber Growers, I knew this was my choice.  We had even checked out reclaimed flooring, but this was cheaper and salvaged from dead trees too.  Troy and I helped pick the boards and nail them down – it is like putting together a puzzle.”  Kelly showed her floor to her neighbor and Raeann also chose local wood flooring for her new home.   Timber Growers have the philosophy that a happy customer joins their volunteer sales staff and each home becomes another show room for their flooring.  Referral and repeat strings of sales are already up to 9 floors long. 

Spring Green Timber Growers
Our forestry encourages natural succession and regeneration – allowing nature to have her way.  We salvage a few of the trees that die each year and carefully harvest them with  small machinery.  We sawmill the logs, use solar heated kilns to dry the boards, make flooring and wood products in our remodeled dairy barn, and install and finish our products right in the customer’s home.  Solid, Natural, Local wood products direct from the grower.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Spring Green Timber Growers

  Spring Green Timber Growers
Connects with Tena Ecuador!

Roxana Salvador recently presented a gourmet chocolate tasting at the Spring Green Fire Station.
She was a volunteer Bombero for the night.

I'll be returning to Ecuador February 26th to continue sharing ideas between the continents.