After a fire in 2013 destroyed more than half of a sawmill in Smoot, most employees never expected it to re-open. Since the fire, employees of the mill traveled to Beckley for work in a sister sawmill, in order to keep their jobs.
Now, though, those workers are back home at their Smoot mill. Allegheny Wood Products purchased the mill and has invested more than 3 million dollars in to re-building it.
Jeff Nickel has been working at the mill for over 34 years and he says there’s nothing better than having the work back in Smoot.
Nickels says, “It’s good for the community and the fact that we have it going again and everything, that’s, it just means a lot. I had my doubts, when it burnt, ya know, but then AWP come in and we’re back rolling again.”
In addition to those employees that have returned from the Beckley plant, there have been new jobs created since AWP bought the mill. John Crites II is the President of Allegheny Wood Products. According to Crites, there are 28 jobs on site at the mill, but all of their logging and trucking, along with other jobs, are contracted out to businesses in the community. That makes the total number of jobs created by the mill around 60.
The mill is equipped with state-of-the-art laser-guided saws that help to create high quality products in the most efficient possible ways. They also find uses for every scrap of wood brought in, wasting almost no material.