What started as a small lumber supplier to the recreational vehicle industry in 1989, North American Forest Products, Inc. has expanded its markets to include manufactured housing, mobile offices and facilities, packaging, industrial and retail outlets. And its sales coverage area has increased from primarily two states served – Michigan and Indiana – to over twenty-four.
“A big part of our concentration is in the RV and manufactured housing market,” said Tom Yoder, Controller for North American Forest Products located near the Indiana border in Edwardsburg, Michigan. “In 2002, we acquired a local moulding company in Elkhart, Indiana, to expand our range of products.”
For the RV novice, Elkhart, Indiana is the RV capitol of the world.
“From a 30,000-foot view, North American Forest Products does everything you cannot see in an RV or manufactured house, like trusses and wall studs, while North American Moulding does everything you can see in an RV or manufactured house, like crown molding, baseboards and cabinet components,” explained Tom.
Between the two divisions, North American has over 550 employees who come to work every day with a “We can do that attitude,” said Tom. “We count on our dedicated team of employees to support our customers.”
Not surprisingly, when Tom happened to hear a report about proposed changes to Michigan’s paid sick leave law earlier this year, he was concerned. He immediately contacted the Michigan Chamber to find out what was going on. To his surprise, he learned that his company was not a Chamber member. “I thought we were,” said Tom. “Let’s just say the paid sick leave issue catapulted us into becoming a member.”
“Between our two divisions here at North American, Michigan’s new paid sick law hours being changed from 72 hours to 40 hours is saving us $229,000 a year,” noted Tom. “That’s a lot of profit.”
“The Chamber played a big part in helping us develop our sick pay policy through updates and resources they provided by email and on their website,” said Tom. “Those updates and having the confidence that I will be informed about the next big issue before it becomes a ‘how are we going to do this?’ is a big value.”