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Local business began as a pallet manufacturing business, and evolved to an emphasis on small dimension wood products

RAMONA MCCALLISTER - An employee of Pacific Firs pulls a board and stacks some smaller dimension lumber, to later be delivered to a customer.Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "The secret of getting ahead is getting started."

For local entrepreneur and businessman, Todd Galant, he began his pallet manufacturing business in 1999 based on an idea, which evolved into the business he has today.

"What we do is we take lumber from west coast sawmills, primarily in Oregon, and we cut it to smaller dimension products that the big mills do not want to spend the time to do," said Gallant of his company, Pacific Firs.

He pointed out that if you went to a lumber yard, you would see a 2" x 2" or a 1" x 2" board, which is an example of what they produce.

"The big mills do not want to do those because it takes a lot of time, and they want to make a bigger piece of wood that can go through their facility a lot quicker."

Gallant indicated that they market their products far and wide, including local business in the state of Oregon through distributors, as far south as Phoenix, Arizona and as far southwest as Hawaii. They also cater to a handful of distributors and lumber yards for whom they do proprietary grades that are specific to their needs, as well.

"We cater to companies that fit our production capabilities," added Gallant.

The original location of Pacific Firs was in the Baldwin industrial area by the old bowling alley (currently Rosendin) and in 2003, Gallant bought property on Lamonta Road, where they are currently located.

"It was perfect for us," he said.

Gallant added that it was the old Pine Products small log mill, so it was a good fit for what they needed for their growing business. At that point, they were manufacturing 20% pallets and 80% small dimension products.

He went on to say that they have approximately 20 employees who stay busy year-round. He pointed out that they have employees who have with them 15 to 18 years.

RAMONA MCCALLISTER - Owner of Pacific Firs, Todd Gallant, stands by a finished stack of lumber from his manufacturing facility.Gallant noted that he began his Prineville career at Clear Pine Moldings in 1986, then went to Pioneer Cutstock in 1987, before they were bought out by Brightwood Corp.

"I grew up in Redmond and graduated from Redmond High School and started working in Prineville in 1986," he said of his career beginnings in the wood industry.

Gallant emphasized that the inspiration for his business came from the concept that "if you want to do more than just work for somebody, you have to have your own business."

He had an idea for initiating a pallet business, and he decided to put it into practice.

He went on to say, "Like any business plan, you have to be willing to change as you go. No plan is solid without adaptation."

Although Pacific Firs started out as a pallet business, they have evolved into 80% small dimension products, and only 20% pallets.

"We take the lumber that isn't good enough to make a solid piece of wood lumber and we cut it back and make pallets out of the fall down, so it's a pretty good marriage," he said of the pallet portion of the business.

Gallant sells their pallets to local businesses and does not go outside of Central Oregon.

"It's been a good run as far as the idea of starting Pacific Firs, and where it is now is two totally different concepts on how it has evolved," he said.

He concluded that it has been good for the community, and they use a great deal of local resources. They stay active and support the community. He pointed to a photo of local dance participants whom they have supported and sponsored recently.

"We do that kind of stuff for the community and try to stay active that way and give a little bit when we can."

Pacific Firs information:

Owner: Todd Gallant

Address: 3951 NW Lamonta Road

Office contact: Sheri Falloon, 541-447-8242

Todd Gallant: 541-419-5989

Business hours: Monday through Thursday: 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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