Customizing the Northwoods
Local business offers unique furnishing alternatives
By Jared Raney
Our locale is often defined by its abundance of trees, and by extension abundance of lumber. That’s why when people think of the Northwoods, they picture log cabins by the lake and furniture made from tree stumps.
But one local business is taking the essence of Northern Wisconsin to new heights with their custom-woodworking business model.
“We kind of call ourselves a direct-mill manufacturer,” said Tom Ory, the vice president and part owner of Enterprise Wood Products. “We don’t really carry any inventory… Because everyone likes things a little bit different, we make everything to whatever the customer is looking for.”
Enterprise Wood Products has been a Rhinelander business for decades, always with a reputation for quality materials, but only in the last decade or so have they stepped up their game to custom manufacturing.
With their own saw-mill and dry kiln operation, just ten miles away from the main building, they create their products truly from the ground up. Involved in every step of the process, their goal is to ensure that every single piece is up to the highest standard—the customer’s standard.
“We don’t really design stuff ourselves, people kind of just bring us ideas,” Ory said. “Then we go from there, make it and tweak it to whatever specific size or look that they’re going for.”
In addition to more traditional lumbering, Enterprise is also gaining a reputation in the growing trend nationwide for wood reclamation.
“A lot of people like the story and the history of it, and just being able to reuse something rather than having it go to waste,” Ory said. “That weathered, natural look that you can’t really achieve with new wood.”
For the past five or so years, Tom Ory and his father, Steve Ory, the original founder and owner, have been building a practice of using reclaimed wood from around the Midwest. They pride themselves on staying as local as possible.
“I really enjoyed getting involved with the reclaimed wood, going and looking at these different buildings and sites and then figuring out how we can utilize it and try to not let it go to waste,” Ory said. “That creative aspect and just growing the business.”