Weaber is like many local businesses in that it has experienced its share of ups and downs over the years. From downturns in the economy to management transitions, from product improvements and innovations to market fluctuations, from re-brands to re-inventions.
But through it all, Weaber has continued to grow, evolve and flourish — all the while staying true to its founder’s vision.
With around 500 employees and about 20 buildings on site, Weaber — the former Weaber Lumber or the one-time Weaber Saw Mill — is one of the leading businesses in Lebanon County. Located at 1231 Mount Wilson Road in South Annville Township, Weaber, has done business in Lebanon County and surrounding areas for almost 80 years, and today is one of the leading manufacturers of hardwoods in the country.
“Growing up, I knew Weaber Lumber was up here on Mount Wilson Road,” said Darren Grier, Weaber’s marketing manager and senior graphic designer. “From the road, you can’t tell how big this property is. I get the question all the time about what we do. It really surprises some people how large we are and how far we’ve come.”
Indeed, Weaber has grown from what were humble beginnings. And there’s more growth in sight.
“In the future, I think we’re going to head towards more consumer-based products, or at least in that direction,” Grier continued. “I think we’re prepared for that growth. I just see more growth and possibly acquiring more locations.”
Weaber manufactures mainly building products out of trees. Included in Weaber’s product line are hardwood floorings, trim boards, weathered wallboards, oak and poplar moldings, stair parts, logs, saw dust and shavings.
“We produce wood products,” said Grier. “And what we produce has changed over the years. We’re not just a lumber company any more.”
There’s a certain appreciation for the beauty of wood and hardwood products, Grier opined.
“We actually sell to a lot of lumber yards and wholesalers,” Grier added. “I think we’re in all the Home Depots.”
From modest beginnings, Weaber was founded as a local saw mill by Walter H. Weaber in 1941. Thirty years later, Galen G. Weaber took over ownership and his modernization of the company’s lumber process made it more profitable.
“I don’t know too much about the origins,” said Grier. “I do know it was a small mill and Walter lived on the property. When Galen took over, there was a lot of growth. I’ve got to assume [Walter] couldn’t have envisioned where we are now.”
One thing is for sure: Walter would be be impressed by the growth.
“It’s definitely grown and gone through its processes over the years,” continued Grier. “Each owner has grown the business. It’s become more of a lumber company with manufacturing capabilities, moving forward.”
In 2010, current owner Matt Weaber assumed the reins of the company. It came at a time shortly after the recession of 2009 had taken its toll on Weaber Lumber.
“There was a period during the recession when a company came in and purchased Weaber,” said Grier. “But Matt’s got the majority ownership at this time. Like any other business, we were hit hard. It was a rough time. It wasn’t like it is now. Now we are doing very well.”
It was that type of success that had allowed Weaber Lumber to open a distribution center, which boasts the capability of storing six million board feet of finished products, at 25 Keystone Drive in Lebanon in 2004. Five years ago, Weaber opened a small manufacturing operation in Titusville, Pennsylvania, and in 2017, it opened a location in Doswell, Virginia.
“I think the idea was that we wanted to grow, expand and become more established,” said Grier. “The new locations give us an ability to do more stuff and meet more needs. Having other locations help out.”
The company wouldn’t be expanding to new locations if it weren’t doing well financially, Grier said.
“It’s been doing well for a few years now,” he said. “We want to continue to grow. Potentially, down the road, we could make products we aren’t making now.”
Weaber purchases big timber from land owners within a 150-mile radius — mainly in the Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland region — of its headquarters in South Annville. The wood is transported to Weaber’s lumber yard, processed in its mill, graded, dried in its kilns and then readied for finished products.
There is very little waste and great care is taken to preserve the integrity of the land from which the wood is harvested.
“From my experiences, up until 2012, the business was focused on the lumber industry,” said Grier. “But over the last two or two-and-a-half years, the company has taken a different direction. We’ve gone into more consumer markets.
“As we grow, people see we have more products,” continued Grier. “As we continue to grow, we’re going to go even more into consumer markets.”
A third-generation, family-owned operation with its roots firmly planted in Lebanon County.
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