In Southern Appalachia, thinking a lot about Hickory, currently a common trash tree, often at fence lines, and its hidden value, that can help preserve mountain communities; tom and I have seen see big uses for it that could help people stay on small plots of land. Stair railings and posts, at near manufacturing levels. examining the economic ecosystem around that. we think we have sources of supply and sufficient intelligent logging labor with light foot print. assessing demand side, distribution opportunities, marketing, sales,

But demand is small now. So how could we grow it? Interesting new customers are people want a touch of rustic, a staircase, in their otherwise ordinary house. because they have put their dreams of a second house in the mountains on hold until things get better. They need a new place to transfer those dreams; to prove to themselves they can make it to the other side, be among those people with a house in the mountains to go with their house in town.

it used to be easier to do than it is now. the generation of people who dream of what tom gilbert has or what i have as my second home, cum retirement home. that hope has been cut off by the economic circumstances. so we need to give people a way to stay on their land, by harvesting their hickory, and selling it as talismans of hope and a tangible piece of the future to people who want to be in the country but can’t afford to right now.

If we sold hickory stair cases, we would be supporting local landowners, guys with chain saws and pickups making a little extra, reliable money. We’d be creating jobs in a place that is seeing hard times, and where it’s harder to hang on to small land holdings in the country. We’d be helping hold mountain communities together and sell hope at high margin.