Charlottesville, Va. based Coastal Lumber Co., long a major hardwood lumber producer, closed operations in mid-August. The company laid off 200 employees and shut down five sawmills in West Virginia, nearly 70 employees and the sawmill in Weldon, NC, nearly 70 employees and the sawmill in Hopwood, Pa., as well as six executive positions in Virginia and 30 companywide in sales, accounting, clerical and transportation.
On its web site, Coastal Lumber, which was founded in 1937, stated it produces more than 90MMBF feet of hardwood lumber each year and operates more than 25 dry kilns with 1.5MMBF board feet of kiln capacity, while also producing more than 70MMBF of green and air-dried lumber, and industrial grade hardwoods for use in the pallet and railroad tie industries.
In a statement to customers and suppliers, President, CEO and owner Victor Barringer, grandson of the company founder, blamed the “prolonged downturn” in the economy and the company’s inability to obtain reorganization financing for a plan to keep it afloat. Barringer said he was asked to make certain concessions that he was not willing to make as part of a new financing plan, but that he is still hopeful the company can find alternative financing in the future.