Few comments, suggestions, and ideas…

 I returned last week from a trip to our southern neighbour and home of the Potato State, Idaho. While the State shares only a small border with BC in the South East Kootneys, the potential for our Industry to expand sales into this market is good. I specifically went to review the market opportunities in the resort market of Sun Valley. Recent market intelligence showed significant construction activity in both the single family and light commercial construction sectors in this ski resort town.

Here is what I found: the market there is strong with two new resort hotels currently under construction along with a large number of high-end residential mountain homes. The design of these homes is very similar to what you see in other ski towns including Whistler, as wood products are frequently used in both the structural and decorative elements of the home. Also, similar to what is trending in the other resort markets including Lake Tahoe and Big Sky Montana, there is a move towards a mountain contemporary design where you see plenty of glass and cold rolled steel in the design.

I met with a number of the key architects and builders in Sun Valley and all expressed interest in working with BC based secondary wood product manufacturers. The key to penetrating this market is deciding on the best way to develop a distribution channel into the region. While some of the larger builders are interested in dealing directly with BC manufacturers, the general consensus from this group is that they prefer to buy from the local distributor, AC Houston Lumber in Ketchum. This is a family run firm which has serviced the builder and architect market community in Sun Valley for over 50 years. A tour through their yard showed plenty of BC wood product on the ground including product from Western, Interfor, and Gorman to name a few.

Upon return, my thoughts on the potential of increasing sales into this region remain the same. Sun Valley is a growing market that is experiencing plenty of construction activity especially in the high-end residential market. Sun Valley has easy shipping from British Columbia and buyers are interested in what BC manufacturers have to offer. If the Sun Valley market is of interest to you or if you want more information, please feel free to contact me at dfarley@bcwood.com