About Parma Post & Pole - Idaho Fencing Products
Parma Post & Pole was started in 1982 by Walt Sterling. He attended an auction and ended up coming home with a peeler, tenoner, driller and 1972 Pettibone loader. Our family was officially in the post and pole business! In the beginning it was difficult. My father and mother worked all day at the pole yard and on nights and weekends we built fence to make ends meet. Over the years the business grew and became more established in Southern Idaho.
In 1995 the call of the peeler was too much to ignore and my wife (Kristy) and I returned home to Parma to work at the pole yard. Things were pretty much the same as when I had left for college in 1986. We immediately began updating equipment and purchasing land for future use. Attending auctions and building equipment on our own saved a great deal of money. In 1999 we bought out my parents and the debt was officially ours.
From that point on things began moving very quickly. We built a new manufacturing plant, installed a blower system for debris removal and bought more equipment. Our biggest project was the construction of a 22-bay automated sorting system. All built in-house, it tripled our production and added only one employee. We then purchased a second peeler and production really took off.
Our next project was a pressure treating plant. Since 1982 we had been shipping all our wood out to wood treatment facilities in Reno, Salt Lake and Portland and then shipping the wood back to Parma for sales. A local treatment plant did not exist. It became apparent that this was costing too much, causing a never-ending headache and crippling our potential growth. We began construction in August 2004 and became operational in March 2005. Idaho Wood Preserving was born. The chemical we have chosen is ACQ, or Naturewood, manufactured by Koppers Performance Chemicals. It is an arsenic-free preservative with very similar characteristics and the performance of CCA. The treat plant utilizes an 80'x6' pressure treating retort, three 16,000 gallon work tanks, two 10,000 concentrate tanks and an 18,000 bulk water tank, all housed in an 18,000 sf heated building. Since this project was completed, we have been better able to serve our customers and offer quicker turnarounds on orders since we now own the only pressure treating plant within 380 miles!
In 2007 we wrote and were awarded a Woody Biomass Grant through the Forest Products Lab in Madison, Wisconsin. This $250,000 grant was used to purchase additional equipment to basically double our production and enable the Forest Service to process added tons of biomass off of federal timber sales. The grant was for equipment and installation only and we built another building, a 30-unit chip bin and associated equipment as part of our matching funds. In the first year of the new plant being functional, we more than doubled our estimated tonnages and have maintained those averages ever since.
In 2009 we were given the opportunity to purchase a company to which we had been selling material for about 15 years. Sportsman's Lodge Furniture was a company that built custom rustic furniture and this purchase enabled us to diversify into a new area that offered exciting opportunities. The purchase came with the existing furniture customers, equipment, designs and most importantly, the craftsmen! We moved the new company to our new site and we were now in the furniture business as well! We added customers, cleaned up designs, eliminated some lines and tried to build this side of the company in small baby steps. It became very apparent that in order to take the furniture division to the next level, we needed additional production space. After a couple of years, we begin planning our new facility.
In 2013 we finalized drawings of our new 20,000 sf office, showroom and furniture production plant. We hired a company to frame up the walls, put on the roof, pour the concrete floor and do the insulation. We then took over and did everything else ourselves and it turned out great...exceeding our expectations in every way! For 17 years we were crammed into a 24'x48' double wide trailer and there is nothing like having some space in which to work! The double wide was sold as-is in November 2013, we moved into the new digs, and we can now focus on taking the furniture side of our business to the next level!
Then in 2014, an opportunity presented itself to purchase a sawmill in Castlegar, British Columbia. We were buying more timber sales ourselves and found no local market for the oversized wood, other than firewood. We determined that there was enough demand to justify the expense and have found this made a very solid long-term decision. We can now offer lumber either untreated or pressure treated, which has increased our usage of Idaho Wood Preserving.
In 2015 we are celebrating our 33rd year in business. Our growth can be attributed to our great customers and we thank you for supporting us! Word of mouth advertising has enabled us to ship wood all over the Western US, including Alaska and Hawaii.