As the lumber industry changes, so must a lumber business. W.C Edwards, a member of the Commonwealth Plywood family of companies, realized that their business model needed to change after their Pembroke-based manufacturing mill ceased operations in 2009.
W.C. Edwards is one of the region’s oldest lumber operations, starting production in the Ottawa Valley in 1868. Up until approximately 3 years ago, Commonwealth (who purchased the mill in 1996) were running at full capacity. With a downturn in the economy and a subsequent drop in demand for lumber products, Commonwealth moved their operations to Ste-Therese, Quebec location but kept some sales staff and resources in Pembroke. When the mill was in full operation, there were over 40 employees. Currently there are only 6 to 7 staff on hand to handle the Ontario operations.
With a quantity of lumber still being processed from Ottawa Valley forests, it occurred to the company that local consumers may still want to access the quality products for which they were known. A retail store opened inside their former corporate offices then opened nearly 3 years ago and has been selling and supplying shoppers – contractors and homeowners – ever since.
The flooring line that is currently available at W.C. Edwards is local Ottawa Valley wood that is sustainably forested and shipped to the Commonwealth flooring plant in Lachute, Quebec for final finishing. It is available in Maple, Oak, Birch, Red and White Pine.
The store, located along Mackay Street in Pembroke, caters to local flooring installers and cabinet makers currently, but welcomes an opportunity to work more directly with contractors. The staff feels that they are able to offer a distinct advantage to major box stores as they offer a local, high quality alternative line of products.
- Flooring (all grades and finishes)
- Panelling; V-Joint
- Dimensional lumber (dressed accordingly)
- Cabinet Doors and hardware
- Stair treads
- Nails, screws, other hardware