Mike Allen Enterprizes
742 Evergreen Ave. Wrangell, AK 99929 | (907) 305-0254
What has it been like working with the U.S. Forest Service?
I have really enjoyed my work with the Forest Service, especially the guys I work with directly. They are trying to start a micro-sale program here that will help little guys like me, and I appreciate that. The micro-sale program on Prince of Wales seems to have been good for small operators there, and it is good that the Forest Service is trying to get something started here. I’ve also been able to work with them supplying lumber for trail projects, and as consumers of my products, they are helping support a small, local business.
Why did you decide to open a small mill?
I had experience working with wood and lumber before, and I really wanted to continue to live in Wrangell and opening my own business was the best way to do that. I was lucky enough to find something I enjoyed doing, so I decided to make a commitment to continuing to do that. When you love something, you just do it and find a way to make it work.
Where do you see your business going in the future?
I would like to expand to do more value-added processing and have recently bought a molder that I hope to integrate into my business and production process. A lot of operators start with rough-cut lumber, which is mostly what I work with now, and later move into the value-added industry. It seems like the longer you are in business for, the easier it is to find customers who want the extra processing and who will pay the money not only for good quality Alaskan wood, but also the quality processing that I can offer.
Why do you want to produce more value-added products?
The economic benefits are the most important factor as the profit margins increase substantially. There are other benefits, too, though. I’d definitely like to employ a few more people and keep more money in the community.
As a lifelong resident of Wrangell, I want to ensure economic growth and opportunity, for the community and its residents and am not interested in sending money and jobs out of town. Value-added products are also a good way to expand my business while cutting the same amount or even less wood. That is good from both my perspective as a business owner and as someone who is interested in maintaining standing old-growth trees to future use instead of clear-cutting unprocessed logs and depleting the resource while exporting profits and jobs.