It all started with Elsworth “Buck” Buffaloe, my Grandfather. (There is an “E” on the end of our name which I dropped for business reasons).
My first memory of the lumber industry was my Grandfathers retail lumberyard in Reno NV (Buffaloe Building Supply- 1970) because I got to play in sand piles and ride forklifts with the yard guys.
I was 5 years old when I loaded my first truck (my dad had me on his lap so he could work the foot pedals while I worked the forks).
I learned how to grade wood going through truckloads of reject molding and turning it into a sell-able product line.
I have splinters in my blood.
At one time or another my dad and grandfather dragged me to every mill on the West Coast (and not always willingly).
In 2003 I started a little nickel and dime business with my dad (Dave Buffaloe).
We bought reject wood siding from a large mill, graded it, and re-sold it through classified ads in Northern California. It was a fun little business.
In 2004 before we really knew what we were doing we decided we wanted to get found on the internet for wood siding.
“Bring the buyer to the seller with that thing” my dad said as he pointed at a computer which he, himself, did not know how to use at that time.
We got lucky and found a tech dynamo who was doing SEO before anyone knew what it meant and we got found everywhere and the phones lit up.
People contact us from all over the world with questions about wood. There are a LOT of wood lovers in the world and they have a LOT of questions.
We started out doing discount cedar. From 2005 to 2008 we went from my dad’s back yard to # 585 on INC magazines’ 5000 fastest growing companies in America list.
We had 6 dealers across the country, trucks, trailers, equipment, the whole she-bang.
I was ready to take over the world!
Then 2008 happened.
When the smoke cleared, we assessed our position, no dealers, no trucks, no yards, no inventory and no clue. We decided to quit.
My dad cried.
BUT You kept calling.
People kept calling us the whole time. Some not ready to buy but just wanting to dream a little. Some who did want to buy but couldn’t and there were some that could. There were enough that we survived.
We converted from discount cedar to the entire spectrum of wood siding product. We changed from buying truckloads and selling job lots to milling job lot quantities and shipping directly to the customer from the production plant.
It was a HUGE challenge.
In what I can only describe as “The Vulcan Mind Meld” my tech team grilled me with questions about milling and grading and finish, all the while madly producing excel spreadsheets (which would later become our software).
With me as what they call a “Super User” we designed our software from the ground up to suit our new business model. It converts mill speak to human speak, handles the shipping, invoicing, everything. It is quite a piece of work and I am very proud to have been a part of it.
My team did an amazing job of creating it under fire. Anyone with programming background will tell you this is not the optimal way to design and write software but the result is a HELL of a program!
It allows us to speak in layman terms yet maintain pinpoint accuracy regarding milling detail.
Her technology talents and business acumen, my wood knowledge and you guys (our customers) are what makes Buffalo Lumber tick.
We wrote the website in response to the questions we were being asked. We designed our systems to help people avoid problems. We learned about potential problems from the people calling in with their problems.
The great thing about getting found as well as we do is that it keeps us on the cutting edge. We find out what is working and what is not by the people calling in.
That is the fun part. Our customers and all the cool and crazy things they do and want to do. We have seen and heard about thousands of interesting projects.
Now we are reaching out to as many customers as we can (which is a challenge because we have over 2000) and asking them for pictures and feedback on what they are experiencing with their wood. It has been a blast to talk to them and see the different projects.
Our purpose is to share what we learn from our customers with new customers and guide as many people as we can to long term wood project success.
Wood Dreams, that is what it’s all about.