PIKETON – Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth LLC has provided a Business Opportunity Grant of $30,000 to Blanton Lumber on Dever Road in Pike County. The grant will be used to help purchase a new resaw to rough cut hardwood timber into smaller sized lumber.
The new saw has a micro-thin blade at .05-inches and makes a narrower cut compared to a standard 9/32 or .28-inch blade. This represents a huge savings in the amount of wood available for use and a decrease in waste or sawdust created during the process.
“The saw and thinner blade will improve my efficiency by 20 to 25 percent,” said Blanton Lumber Owner Jeff Blanton. “I’m just a small operation with eight employees. This grant is really going to make a difference for my business. I can’t say enough for the help I’ve gotten from Gary Arnett with the County and Kelly O’Bryant with Ohio State.”
Blanton Lumber began operations in 2000 and in March 2016 relocated to a mill off Dever Road in Piketon that sat unused for years. Operators process about 30,000 linear feet of hardwood lumber stock per week.
The company’s output goes to a variety of finish wood customers throughout the US including Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Alabama and even Canada. The finished products range from high-end furniture and flooring to railroad ties and wood pallets.
“My dad had a saw mill and this business is what I’ve known all of my life,” Blanton said. “Our goal is to purchase and work with the best wood available. I do the grading myself. Now my folks are getting equipment that will help them do their jobs even better. We’re not big, but we are proud of the lumber products we produce.”
“The focus of the Fluor-BWXT Business Opportunity Grant Program is to give smaller businesses the little boost they need to start or expand an operation,” said Fluor-BWXT Nuclear Operations Director and Commitment Plan Steering Committee Chair Tim Poe. “When we met with Jeff Blanton you could just see his passion for this business and how appreciative he is for the financial help. That’s why our company is committed to this program. We see businesses that are growing not only in Pike County, but across this region as well.”
Through a partnership with the local communities, Fluor-BWXT supports grant requests from Pike, Ross, Scioto and Jackson counties looking to grow their businesses and add quality jobs to this region. Each year Fluor-BWXT invests more than $500,000 locally through grants and related business support.
“Pike County and this region as a whole is known for its quality timber and skilled wood craftsmen,” said Pike County Economic Development Director Gary Arnett. “We’re proud to add Blanton Lumber to that list and we will be there to help and see them grow in the future.”
According to JEDISO Fluor-BWXT grants totaling $881,000 have led to $5.5M in matching funds that in turn generated $186M in local investment. The results are more than 830 jobs created with more than 5,000 jobs retained across the region.