Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Mon, July 9 2012 at 4:32 PM, Updated: Mon, July 9 2012 at 4:46 PM
While they have one of the smallest timber mills in Klamath Falls, 'Cook Woods' trades on an international level...
Their inventory includes exotic woods like purpleheart, black and white ebony, zebrawood, and even snakewood from Surinam.
"We basically sell exotic and domestic wood." Notes Catherine Cook of Cook Woods. "Anything from lumber, to blocks and squares."
Cook Woods has a small mill and a showroom in Klamath Falls. But founder Chris Cook says that local sales are relatively small...
"We probably sell about a half of one percent to the local Klamath Falls, Medford area."
"Our website is our meat and potatoes." Says Catherine Cook, who adds those web orders come from around the world, for a variety of uses. "Things like acoustic guitars, or high end pen blanks, pool cues, duck calls."
It hasn't always been easy.
Chris Cook points out that the business had to restructure in 2008 due to a tight economy. "We went from having roughly 10 to 12 people here working on a steady basis to having 5 or 6."
Also in 2008, the 'Lacey Act' was tightened to combat trade in endangered wood species. While the Lacey Act has placed additional restrictions on importing exotic woods, Chris and Catherine Cook say it hasn't really changed their game plan...
"I'd say that most of the time when they're a protected species, we just stay away from them." Says Catherine Cook.
"As far as us." Adds Chris Cook, "We're in the clear, because we have our paperwork and we don't want to endanger anything, or make it more endangered."
Even when those 'exotics' are harvested locally.
Chris Cook got his start in North Dakota in 1997, when he purchased a portable sawmill. Using trees cut down for firewood by local tree services, Cook made lumber for local woodworkers, and sold some of the scraps online.
You can learn more online at: www.cookwoods.com
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.