FACES & PLACES: Reynolds helps town’s lumber industry grow

Published 1:36 pm Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Editor’s note: This story published in The Clanton Advertiser’s Faces & Places 2015. Copies are still available at the Advertiser office, located at 1109 Seventh St. S. in Clanton (across Hwy. 31 from the Winn-Dixie shopping center). Or, read a digital version of the magazine here.

Maplesville may be a small town, but it has made a name for itself in the lumber industry.

With seven companies in the area devoted to the making or distribution of wood products, those passing through can’t help but notice the abundance of timber and logging trucks lining the road.

Owning lumber, transportation and wood product companies in Maplesville, Mike Reynolds has a hand in each of the town’s booming industries.

Reynolds, 59, owns Taylor-Made Lumber Company, Taylor-Made Transportation, Inc. and Reynolds Wood Products.

Mike Reynolds has a hand in each of Maplesville’s booming industries, as he owns Taylor-Made Lumber Company, Taylor-Made Transportation Inc and Reynolds Wood Products, which are all located in the small town.

Mike Reynolds has a hand in each of Maplesville’s booming industries, as he owns Taylor-Made Lumber Company, Taylor-Made Transportation Inc and Reynolds Wood Products, which are all located in the small town.

Reynolds Wood Products was owned by Reynolds’ father until he took over the family business.

1974 was a busy year for Reynolds, as he graduated from high school, took ownership of Reynolds Wood Products and founded his own company—Taylor-Made Transportation, Inc.

“I started out driving a truck,” Reynolds said. “I drove trucks until 1981 before I stopped to focus on managing the business.”

Truck routes vary from in-county trips to surrounding states, and even the occasional cross-country expedition.

“Yesterday, we had trucks in Kentucky and in Orlando, Florida,” Reynolds said on a busy weekday in July. “These drivers are a rare commodity.”

Growing up in Plantersville, Reynolds was exposed to the lumber industry at an early age.

“I grew up in Plantersville, right on the Chilton and Dallas county line, close to O’Neal’s Tractor [Company],” Reynolds said. “When I got out of school, I was looking for a job and my family’s always lived close by. The business has really been good in Maplesville.”

While each of his three companies has its own specialty and specific duties, they also work together to get the products from the tree to the customers.

The trees come from loggers within a 100-mile radius of Maplesville, and from there, they are fed into machines that cut, mold or shred the trees into the desired shapes and sizes.

According to Reynolds, a lot of the company’s local business comes from wood prepared for floor and wall paneling, which also lines every inch of Reynolds’ office.

“We sell to the public, but we do a lot of wholesale,” Reynolds said. “Even out of state, everyone in the lumber company knows where Maplesville is.”

The scope of Taylor-Made’s work stretches far beyond the 70-plus acres the company owns, especially since it partners with neighboring businesses such as West Fraser Mill and South Coast Paper.

“We work good together,” Reynolds said. “They just expanded their mill, and they’ve got a lot to offer.”

Reynolds shared that he takes pride in knowing that the lumber his company ships helps build things miles and miles away, and sometimes shows up in unexpected places.

According to Reynolds, Maplesville native and U.S. soldier Max Seals sent him a picture of Taylor-Made wood products he saw in Iraq.

The lumber was sold to a company in Oregon, which then sold it to a branch of the military.

“Max said he opened the crate, and there was our wood,” Reynolds said. “It’s a neat thing to know our wood was helping build things for the troops in Iraq.”

In addition to the products the lumber industry produces, it also brings a great deal of job opportunities to the community.

Reynolds said he has approximately 100 employees, and the business is steadily growing.

One important industry that may surprise people is the selling of wood chips, made from the “scraps” of cut wood pieces.

According to Reynolds, the chips bring in a great deal of revenue for the company.

“We sell them to people in the poultry or horse businesses for bedding or stalls,” Reynolds said.

Between the wood products, trucks and machines, Reynolds keeps busy throughout his days on the job, making sure all operations run smoothly.

You can often catch him on his Southern Linc cell phone, checking on the status of assignments and directing people where they need to be.

Although Reynolds always has more than a few projects going at any given time, he said he has never thought about doing any other type of work.

“There are good people in Maplesville,” Reynolds said. “It’s easy working with everybody here.”