New generation growing the Lumber Jacks’ business

Business partners Josh Bylow and Becky Albring have taken over the management of the family-owned business.

Becky Albring grew up in the Lumber Jacks’ office and yard, her family’s nearly 50-year-old business started in 1979 by her parents, James and Kathy Albring. She was ready and willing to step up to the management plate when her father and brother Eric passed away.

Extended family member Josh Bylow serves as her business partner, overseeing operations in the field while she takes care of the front office responsibilities. “Josh is a crucial member of our team,” Albring said. “He shares my philosophy to honor our family members who created this business and do our best to do everything we can to make it better. Josh and I are both serious about recycling and adamant about being as green as possible. We make our topsoil and mulch in small batches to ensure quality.”

“We work with local landscapers and tree company people who bring in their yard waste and wood, which we compost or make ready for firewood,” Bylow explained. “We use everything one way or another.”
“My dad always said, ‘If God didn’t make it, pick it up.’ My brother Eric amended it to say, ‘If God made it, we’ll take it.’ And that’s what we do. We stay true to our roots,” Albring stressed.

According to Bylow their firewood is carefully cut into uniform pieces to ensure even burning. “We make mulch that is single, double, or triple ground in natural, chocolate brown, jet black, or vivid red. The dye used to create these colors is safe, natural and animal and eco-friendly,” Bylow promised. “We make a premium, screened topsoil, which is excellent for flowerbeds and gardens. Customers can buy a bucket full or a truck full.”

Firewood can be purchased year-round. Firewood is also packaged for campers and fire pits. “In addition, we feature wood chips for smoking, used by many local restauranteurs,” Albring stated. “This wood has become very popular with local barbecue restaurants as well as home chefs.”

For customers who also are looking for a bit of whimsey, wood carvings crafted by Jacob Smith of Simple Man Tree Carving are always available for purchase.

Albring and Bylow credit the longevity of the business and its success to the founders as well as their current team. “We are all very supportive of each other and we truly strive to offer the best products and outstanding customer service. We also appreciate all the small business owners and their teams that we do business with and we are happy to be a part of the community,” Albring and Bylow agreed.

In addition to the partners, Bylow’s wife, Bethany, serves as office manager, and Marty and Al round out the team. Founder Kathy Albring can be regularly found in the office or on the grounds of the 6838 Memorial Hwy location, “I like to help out whereever I can,” she said.

“We have always been campers,” Mrs. Albring recalled. “And it was while we were sitting around a campfire, my husband Jim and I realized that there was a market for good firewood and no one was offering it for sale. We thought this could be a good business opportunity. We started by delivering one truckload of firewood and Lumber Jacks was born.”

After moving from a garage to a rental space on Main Street in Sylvania, the family purchased the site in Ottawa Lake, Mich. in 1995 to accommodate the growing products offered. “As more family members joined the business, we added more products,” Mrs. Albring stated.

Lumber Jacks is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm and Saturday from 8:30 am to 4 pm. Delivery service is also available in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

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