One Stop Shop for Local Wood Products - Working Forest article

Updated: 9 years ago - Created: June 7th, 2013

The Working Forest reporter Jolene Lisk wrote this article about the goals and achievements of  Thanks Jolene! 

One stop shop for local wood products

May 06, 2013

By: Jolene Lisk

 Using the web to promote “local wood purchasing decisions and also as a way to encourage contractors to source local wood by having a one stop shop to find everything that they need, made by local people from local wood”, is the goal behind Renfrew County, Ontario’s new website said project co-creator Lacey Rose. 

In a joint effort between the County of Renfrew’s business development officer, Craig Kelley, and a County forester, Lacey Rose, the website was founded. The innovative project was established in Renfrew County, located in eastern Ontario.  It enables County residents to make an informed decision about purchasing wood locally, by providing the tools to research and find locally manufactured wood products.

The website’s development began in February of 2012 and became active in October of that year. “We are just getting into the broadband world in Eastern Ontario so a lot of our producers and manufacturers aren’t really tied into the internet just yet or active on social media so this is our effort to support that sector as best we can by providing those linkages” explained Kelley.

The website includes interviews with wood product producers. At this point in time, the website includes 40 producer profiles. Rose explained “We were hoping that the website and the profiles of the producers make it a more personal choice to be buying wood from Ontario and specifically our County.”

In February 2013, the website won the award of merit from the Economic Developers Council of Ontario in the category of marketing utilizing technology. “The economic developers felt that this is true business support, that we as an organization and County office were supporting business retention and business expansion” said Kelley. 

There have been over 5000 visits to so far. The objective is for the website to render sales for their directory members. “At this point we’ve identified at least half a dozen or more direct linkages that have translated into sales in one form or another” explained Kelley. 

Going forward the project is looking to expand the number of producer profiles showcased in their directory. On a larger scale, the initiative would be “happy for other communities to use what we’ve learned and use our template so it will be replicated. We’d be happy to share our knowledge and share our contacts in terms of technology to get this rolling out even further” said Kelley.

The project intends to promote the industry and help support the 5000 direct and indirect jobs that are associated with wood products. Rose explains “A lot of us work in the woods and we’re proud to do so and we’re managing our forests to world-class standards but what happens to that wood once it leaves the forest? I think, as people that work in the forest industry, we should be thinking about our purchasing decisions and encouraging others to think about where their wood is coming from because we should be really proud to use wood from our own backyard, managed and harvested by people in our communities.”

The County of Renfrew and the Community Futures Development Corporation of Renfrew County helped to fund the project through the Eastern Ontario Development Program.