Left Coast Supplies Assembling NZ Designed Peterson Swingblade Mills in the US
Left Coast Supplies LLC have formed a partnership with the New Zealand design and manufacturing company, Peterson Portable Sawmills. The US timber cutting specialists will be the first distributor of Peterson’s commercial quality, portable sawmilling machines in the United States since 1998. As part of the agreed Quality Assurance process, LCS will be assembling and testing each machine in the US before custom orders are turned over to the customer.
When Left Coast Supplies was formed by partners John Stroecker, Casey Comer, Darian Elizondo and Gregg Grande, they already had 75 years of sawmilling and sales experience between them. Before they partnered with Peterson Portable Sawmills, they had been the US distributor for Lucas Mills, a swingmill imported from Australia. As a result, LCS are familiar with the high production capacity and reduced maintenance needs of swingblade mills, and keen to promote the commercial grade build quality and double-cutting capability of the NZ designed Peterson mills to US customers.
“For years we’ve been selling hobby mills to hobby people”, says Casey Comer of Left Coast Supplies, “Customers have now changed to a business-type focus. I’m excited that we now have a commercial grade mill for a commercial grade customer.”
LCS has already been working with Peterson Portable Sawmills for 12 months. In 2016, Peterson mills were on display and operating at fourteen shows in the US, including the Oregon Logging Conference in February and five Mother Earth News Fair shows. Left Coast Supplies were provided with access to Peterson’s Owners’ Network so they could liaise with US owners to ensure rapid despatch of accessories, parts supplies, and form relationships with existing Peterson owners.
Peterson Sales Consultant Ezra Newick has been impressed with the way Left Coast Supplies have utilised the Owners’ Network to seek Peterson owners willing to demonstrate their mills at trade shows. “We’ve found that when we interact directly with Peterson mill owners before and after purchase, they provide useful information that can help determine the best sawmilling solution for their needs. Left Coast Supplies will learn as much from the Peterson customers as they have from the more formal conversations with the design and manufacturing team in New Zealand.
“The experience of US owner-operators is key to sharing swingmill technology tips in the US.”
The 2016 Mother Earth News Fair circuit proved to be a great place for Peterson owners to showcase their current mills and their use.
In September, Bill Shore took his 8” Winch Production Frame to the Pennsylvania Mother Earth News Fair to demonstrate its production capabilities. Bill was happy to talk to his show audience about “The myth of the thin (bandsaw) kerf” while demonstrating high board production rates and little waste using his WPF Peterson mill. The boards he made were stacked on site and sold at the show. Someone picked up a News Fair bargain without purchasing their own mill.
In October, Paul Veerkamp showed the versatility of the Winch Production Frame and Clip-on Slabber at the Kansas Mother Earth News Fair. In Kansas, Paul said the audience were interested in “the way the Peterson mill could be used artistically” in combination with the Clip-on Slabber and the Planer Blade.
At Peterson’s New Zealand factory, the next container load is being prepared for shipping to the LCS warehouse based in Willits, California. Each of the custom order mills will be assembled and tested at the LCS warehouse before the new swingmill owner takes control. Peterson CEO Kerris Browne is delighted with the partnership.
“While we already have a network of satisfied Peterson sawmill owners in the States, we are pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Left Coast Supplies to ensure parts and service are increasingly available for our existing and future Peterson owners. “
One significant advantage the partnership between LCS and Peterson Portable Sawmills offers is the opportunity to source US parts for the NZ designed swingblade mill, which both reduces costs for the customer and improves the green footprint for the robust, commercial quality, portable mill.
Left Coast Supplies’ Gregg Grande is confident that the increased availability of Peterson mills parts in America will be a significant selling point for US customers. “People care about durability, price, and service support. Because we are building custom-order mills in our warehouse, we’re able to sell and service Peterson equipment in the US faster than ever before.”
Over the last 12 months, Left Coast Supplies have negotiated agreements with a key US supplier to source 6” circular blades (Junior Peterson model), 8” circular blades (All Terrain Sawmill and Winch Production Frame), and 10” circular blades (ATS, WPF and Automated Swingblade Mill). They have also sourced local engines with petrol, diesel or electric running motors to fit the Peterson frame, along with electric winches.
The Peterson-frame and design-specific components are being manufactured in Peterson’s New Zealand factory, packed according to the US customer’s order, and forwarded to the Left Coast Supplies warehouse in California, where the custom order mill is assembled with additional local components and tested. Sourcing circular blades, motors and electric winches within the US minimises the final cost to the customer while maintaining Peterson quality standards. Over the last year, Left Coast Supplies have been able to effectively reduce the Recommended Retail Prices on all Peterson mills in the US using locally-produced components.
The partnership between Peterson Portable Sawmills (in NZ) and Left Coast Supplies (in US) has an environmental cost benefit in terms of reducing the carbon footprint for manufacturing and distribution, as well as a significant price advantage for US sawmilling customers.