Year in Review
The holiday season has come and gone and we at Murray Bros. Lumber are on to 2023. We had a well deserved break for the Christmas holiday and have been back at the mill for over a week. Before we get too far into the new year, we wanted to share some 2022 highlights that we are grateful for.
Last year brought on some really cool customer projects, which we are always happy to highlight. Retail sales have been up year over year and it's awesome to see how creative people in and around our community are. Our sales team found people were really loving our tongue & groove cedar, tongue & groove aspen, red pine shiplap, live edge pine. See below for a few examples of Murray Bros. products in the wild.
Figure 1: Customer photos of red pine shiplap used for flooring (left) & exterior siding (top right) and live edge slabs used for countertops (bottom right).
Some of the customer projects shown above utilized material purchased at our Spring Retail Sale, which returned after a few years. The Spring Retail Sale took place Saturday, May 28th and saw folks lining up at the gate as early as 6:00AM, just like old times! Customers found great deals on nice material, including v-joint paneling and live edge pine slabs. We had an awesome team of gate attendants, loader operators, and sales staff that made the day go smoothly. We look forward to making the Spring Retail Sale a lasting tradition that will mark the start of cottage (and project!) season in and around South Algonquin.
Figure 2: A lift of v-joint white pine for sale at the 2022 Spring Retail Sale. Material like this was sold at a heavily discounted price that had everyone going home happy.
2022 saw a continuing demand for many of our products, including lumber and residual material. This demand has corresponded to a continued push to hire employees to fill openings with the company. On January 1st, 2022, our mill employed 85 people in production, shipping, and maintenance departments. By the end of the year, that number grew to 106.
The increase in employees has allowed us to meet our goal of starting a Night Shift, first in the summer, and again starting in December. The Night Shift has been in operation for 5 weeks and is employees are learning a lot, first working in the Scragg Mill, and have since moved to the Band Mill in the new year. We are very grateful for the continuing demand for our products and for having a labour force willing and able to work hard to get Murray Bros. products to market safely and efficiently. You can read more about the Night Shift here: Night Shift Starts in Scragg Mill | Murray Brothers Lumber Company Ltd. Announcements blog (murraylumber.com).
Figure 3: 2022 Employee Count. A dip occurred when summer students returned to school, but we have worked to reach previous numbers. This has allowed the mill to operate a Night Shift crew again and meet increased product demand.
Of the employees who were with us in 2022, we had 6 summer students, who worked in production, maintenance, and office departments. The summer students all learned a lot in their respective work areas and played important roles in the company's successful 2022. Having the students come aboard all at once contributed to a temporary boost in our employee numbers that allowed us to have a Night Shift crew for a few months in the summer. We are hopeful that these summer students will return and eventually turn into full time continuing employees upon completion of their time in high school and/or post-secondary education.
Figure 4: 2022 Murray Bros. Summer Students.
We are very happy to see continuing demand for our products and are lucky to have the staff we do today. The increase in our labour force has helped us better keep up with demand from long time customers and has also enabled us to start some new customer relationships! We look forward to having our staff continue to work in a safe, fun, and rewarding environment.
Murray Bros. was happy to participate in several community events in 2022, including through the sponsoring of Men's Night at The Homestead at Wolf Ridge Golf Course. We want to continue being a presence in Madawaska, Barry's Bay, Whitney, and beyond in the upcoming year through the participation in community events. We also look forward to providing more activities and social outings for our employees, which will aim to build better community and work-life balance.
Figure 5: Some photos from Murray Bros. sponsored Men's Night at The Homestead at Wolf Ridge Golf Course, Killaloe.
We are looking forward to having another strong, happy, and healthy 2023. We look to continue what we started in 2022, including the Spring Retail Sale (set your alarms now). We will also continue ensuring our customers and employees have the best experience possible when interacting with our company, whether it's through small and large orders, or in the workplace setting. So, with that, Murray Bros. wishes you a Happy New Year!