BLACKFOOT â€” When a potential customer whizzed past Trestlewood's yard adjacent to Interstate 15, he spied what he thought were railroad ties.
When Alice Cannon, a founder of the company with her husband John, tried to tell that customer that Trestlewood didn't carry or sell railroad ties, he asked to speak to a man.
Bob Cannon, Alice's son and one of the owners, also told him that much of the company's inventory is reclaimed railroad trestles.
"We started taking down a railroad trestle across the Great Salt Lake in 1993," Bob said of the company's beginnings.
The trestle from the Lucin Cutoff was 12 miles long and produced 30 million board feet of lumber. The family realized there was a market for such reclaimed wood and started selling it.
It also began buying wood reclaimed when old barns and other wooden buildings were demolished.
"The deeper we got into it, the more we enjoyed working with reclaimed wood," Bob said.
"Now (20 years later) only about 15 percent of the wood in our yard here in Blackfoot is from that trestle project," Bob added.
A company calendar and its website â€” www.trestlewood.com â€” show off many of the buildings which feature pieces of its reclaimed wood.
"We try to have a good selection of material for people to choose from," Bob said.
"We sell mostly to builders," he continued, noting that most of those companies build homes in such places as Jackson, Wyo.; Park City, Utah; and Telluride, Colo. However, he said, Trestlewood's products can also be found in such places and Texas and throughout the Intermountain region.
"We've extended our reach to feed the machine," he said. "We're cautiously optimistic about the future."
While many of Trestlewood's customers want the genuine aged wood (the railroad trestle was built in 1902), others simply want an aged wood. Bob said the company has developed a weathering process it uses in its yard near Promontory Point, Utah.
"I really enjoy seeing what people do with our material," he said. "I like to see material that is dry and dingy made up into something nice."
The company has 23 employees in Blackfoot, 15 in Utah and sales offices in Utah and Indiana.
"We're proud of what we do but we recognize it's not for everyone," Bob said.