Judd, COA team up to host Midwest lumber conference

Published 9:26 am Monday, April 25, 2016

(Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

(Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

Michigan’s oldest lumberyard had a chance to show off its hometown to fellow Michigan and Ohio wood distributors late last week.

A group of nearly a dozen owners and executives with Midwest lumber convened in the Grand Old City last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, as Dowagiac’s Judd Lumber hosted the latest meeting of the Midwest Lumber Dealers Round Table. It was the first time in the company’s 30 years of membership in the organization that the conference was hosted in its backyard, said owner Dick Judd.

“We [The Round Table] meet annually to discuss how we might improve our businesses to better serve our customers, our communities and our employees,” Judd said.

Meeting inside the conference center of the Cass County COA Front Street Crossing building, Judd and his fellow lumber distributors discussed the challenges and opportunities they currently face. Among the subjects discussed during the multiple day conference included how they can better use social media to promote business, how to better train employees and what new products they can offer customers, Judd said.

Attendees weren’t confined to just the inside of a conference room during the three-day meeting, though, as Judd also showed off the operation of the 157-year-old business in action Thursday afternoon.

“They enjoyed the history and tour of our yard, as we’re the oldest one in Michigan,”
Judd said.

On top of that, the lumber dealers got a “taste” of Dowagiac during their stay, as attendees dined at the Timberline Inn and Wood Fire restaurants, Judd said.

Judd said that the attendees were impressed by the hospitality shown to them by the local lumber company and other local businesses.

“It was a good way to present our community,” Judd said. “I hope they’ll come back around again someday.”

Judd thanked Glen Barr with the COA for helping he and his company with hosting the conference this year.

Judd and the other members of the Midwest Lumber Dealers Round Table will meet again next year in the city of Ironwood, located near in the Upper Peninsula near the Wisconsin border, Judd said.