The truth is, our journey in business is an interesting one. It’s different for every organization and every person. It’s a different path, a different speed, a different mentality. We all are different and come from unique circumstances. Whether we’re a 100-year-old company or have been in business for less than a decade, it’s interesting. And the one thing I’ve learned for certain is that even though we all venture into and through business from a different perspective, the one thing that stays consistent is the market.
The market is the market. It either embraces you or it chews you up and spits you out. Sometimes you have prior notice, sometimes you don’t. And the truth is that many of us experience both scenarios over our career (maybe multiple times).
That’s the singular thing that makes this thing called business so intriguing. The market doesn’t care who you are or where you come from. It doesn’t care who your “daddy” was and where you got your degree. You either are successful or you’re not. Plain and simple. Many of us in this industry know this. So many companies got punched in the mouth in 2008 (some figuratively and some literally). We saw giants fall and some who we never thought would make it, succeed. We saw bankruptcies and new holding companies formed. Massive upheaval.
I started in this industry just after the crash. The funny thing was, I was so young and naive that I didn’t realize we were in a tough space. Our organization, Rocky Mountain Forest Products is a specialty lumber yard based out of the Denver, Colorado. Fortunately, we kept our head above water when this happened. I didn’t know it back then, but the owner and his family were literally walking through this time frame, day-by-day with our bank focusing on making just enough to cover cash flow, pay the bills and take care of the staff that we had.
Every day was a battle and plans we thought we had ironed out failed. We birthed new ideas, some that worked and some that didn’t. We closed full locations in California and opened satellite locations on a skeleton crews in Texas, Colorado, and Oregon. We got creative and overcame.
I bring all of this up, because many in this industry remember the collapse and remember where things were and where we came from. Like I said, in the moment, I really didn’t quite understand what was going on. I was the new front counter guy just trying to scrape by with his young family. The truth is, though, I wouldn’t trade those days for anything.
I got to observe the strategies, processes, risks and rewards that created who we are today. And not as an outsider, but as a young salesman looking to create a career for himself in a family-run organization that fought to stay alive.
My goal with these pieces is to tell the story of our transformation. It’s to let others know about the strategies and tactics we used to revitalize our business and create the Rocky Mountain Forest Products of tomorrow. Yes, we still are a small family-run business, but we’ve grown substantially over the years—both financially and culturally. We have created a management team that will continue to push the envelope and a work family that respects each other in a way that most organizations desire. You’ll get to hear from myself, Darren West (CCO), Shane Hoefer (CEO), and many others.
This is our story and it’s not unique to us. But it is relatable and valuable to uplift our industry, both inside and outside. I hope you will follow along as we outline our successes and failures that have created who we are today.
Director of Marketing
Rocky Mountain Forest Products