Small, sustainable and self-sufficient – the making of a family lumber business
Cottles Island Lumber Company Ltd. is a family owned business established more than 40 years ago by the Philpott family of Cottles Island (now Cottlesville). Mr. Ralph Philpott, or ‘Uncle Ralph’ as he was known to all in the area, was first and foremost a captain. He spent 36 years navigating the waters off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in the fishing and freighting industries.
Like most Newfoundlanders of that era, Uncle Ralph knew very well what it was to “multi-task”. The fishery was an unforgiving and unpredictable business so he put his hand to work at whatever was in demand, and in Newfoundland, wood products were always in demand. Wood was sawn for every part of a home, from window sashes and clapboard to matched lumber for sheathing or floors. The fishing industry created a steady demand for wood products as well. Timbers, planks, and material for wharves, stages and fishing traps kept sawmills busy. Sawing these custom products demanded attention to detail and quality; after all, the home or boat builder to whose hands the product would be delivered was in most cases the home or boat owner! It was in this environment that the course for Cottles approach to business was charted.
Before electronic navigation aids, mariners used prominent land features or “marks” to visually triangulate their position relative to productive fishing grounds. Over 40 years after Cottles sawed its first log, Rex Philpott, Uncle Ralph’s son and the owner of Cottles, still maintains a competitive position in the turbulent waters of today’s forest products industry based on the marks established many years ago – honesty, quality, dependability and innovation.
Cottles is not just about lumber! We turn the world’s best softwood fibre into top quality building products to clad, panel or floor your building project. Once you are inside we’ll keep you warm with our fuel pellets and seasoned firewood. And yes: we do make lumber. The quality of our lumber cannot be beaten and is seldom matched. Access to top quality raw materials, a commitment to uncompromising quality and complete control of our process, from harvesting to packaging, ensures that when you bring Cottles into your home, you’re bringing home the best.