Thanksgiving knows no borders. It will be celebrated by our U.S. friends tomorrow, but, like lumber markets, the spirit of Thanksgiving is not defined by one jurisdiction, time or space. It brings focus to more than football and turkey. It speaks of blessings shared in a people-centered business that is results oriented.

At Thanksgiving some 30 years ago, one small lumber wholesaler sought to answer the question: “What’s Thanksgiving got to do with lumber wholesaling in recession?” (See original: Thanksgiving Oct 1982).

For this blog post, I asked my dad to update his answer to that question in the context of “economic recovery”:

Interestingly, the fundamental considerations surrounding relevance of Thanksgiving in times of economic recession or economic recovery seem timely in both instances – perhaps moreso in midst of industry’s generally cautious talk of “recovery”. The original article expanded on appreciation of the “people aspect of our business”.  It declared that even back then, bigness in our businesses could be threatening the individual’s confidence. It suggested that “if anything, economies of scale are being undermined by failure to adapt quickly enough to changes in market realities.” The digital age has introduced the “Power of Now” in our business in ways that could only have been imagined 30 years ago. While acknowledging that sound management principles cannot be disregarded,  the original editorial offered that “while systems changes inherently breed frustration and pessimism in some large organizations, they can become creative opportunity for the experienced, small wholesaler.”

We were grateful for our experience where the size and corporate philosophy gave us a built-in bias toward the human element in wholesaling. That’s a strength; it’s vital. It allows smaller wholesalers to follow through with personal attention. It doesn’t eliminate problems but it does facilitate – even ensure – strategies aimed at prompt resolution. It incorporates a built-in respect and sensitivity for customer concerns. The conclusion long ago declaring: “The people aspect of wholesaling provides purpose for our work and gives us reason for optimism” – holds true for today.
– Ernie Harder, Nov 2013

2014 will mark my fourth year here at Dakeryn Industries. I can attest that the most important assets here are the people relationships we enjoy with our suppliers and customers.  For these we are thankful. Happy Thanksgiving!

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