01COCHRAN'S LUMBER

Ben Cochran, general manager of Cochran’s Lumber in Berryville, shows a decorative barn door that is part of the company’s new Sawmill Designs line.

BERRYVILLE — As some companies are making cutbacks due to economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, one local firm is expanding its product line.

Cochran’s Lumber, a family-owned company in the Clarke County Business Park off Jack Enders Boulevard, recently introduced its Sawmill Designs line of decorative barn doors, barn-board paneling and box beams.

The line came about after employees determined there is an unmet need for wooden decor accessories.

In recent years, the firm has focused on making wooden flooring, and other products “sort of fell by the wayside,” said General Manager Ben Cochran.

Yet customers kept asking for decorative products.

“We spent a year or two saying ‘no’ to such things, and our customers didn’t appreciate that,” Cochran admitted. “We didn’t want to turn them down” anymore.

Sawmill Designs products are made from white oak as well as wood reclaimed from old, unneeded barns in the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding areas.

Reclaimed wood is “a little more eye-catching,” Cochran said.

“People are going to walk into your house and say, ‘that’s a really cool piece of wood,’” said company Marketing Director Madeline Simons. “Then you can tell them where it came from,” sharing the barns’ unique histories.

Barns doors are growing in popularity in interior design because of their distinctiveness, and they often are easier to install than traditional doors, Cochran said.

“They instantly transform rooms in a way that swinging doors won’t,” said Simons.

Adhesive strips come attached to Cochran’s barn-board paneling.

“We try to make it as easy as possible” for people to install, Cochran said.

Used in ceiling design, box beams are hollow but look just like traditional wooden beams. In terms of weight, they are lighter, which makes them easier to install, said Cochran.

Wooden elements help create a feeling of warmth and style, regardless of whether a home or building has a rustic appearance or a contemporary design, Simons said.

More details about the company’s products and how to buy them are online at cochranslumber.com.

Cochran estimated his firm spent about $60,000 in developing Sawmill Designs, mostly in creating an e-commerce website and marketing plan.

Currently, the company has roughly 50 employees. Simons recently was hired as part of Sawmill Designs’ development.

“We hope to hire new people” as more products are added in the future, Cochran said.

Sawmill Designs eventually will be expanded to include “more types of items that everyone needs and uses,” he said. Decorative furnishings and purposeful products such as wooden cheeseboards and cutting boards are among items being considered.

People have visited the company’s showroom, been impressed with the products’ quality craftsmanship “and said they wanted to buy something with Cochran’s Lumber (stamped) on it to take home,” he continued.

But they couldn’t find anything to buy.

“Not everybody needs a door or reclaimed wood” siding, Cochran said. And, “there’s a good profit margin in smaller items.”

Founded in 1978, Cochran’s Lumber sells and distributes its products nationwide. Cochran said business has “been very strong” despite the pandemic.

With people spending more time at home, he said, “the demand for renovation and home decor (supplies) is increasing,” so the firm’s business hasn’t really suffered.

— Contact Mickey Powell at mpowell@winchesterstar.com

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