Associated Lumber Enterprises is a lumber company that not only offers recycled lumber products but its history originated from a recycled building. A former 1900s cotton gin was transformed into a lumber mill in 1989. Today, it is a woman-owned niche provider of lumber products and services.
Linda Flory purchased the business in 2011 and is building on the history of the 20+ years of lumbering in Kendleton, Texas, a rural community of 500 people. ALE is conveniently located on Hwy 59, the future I-69 NAFTA corridor.
Linda comes from a legacy of Louisiana lumbermen dating back two generations. As a young girl, she worked at her father’s mill in Louisiana and recalls when her grandfather moved logs down the river in her hometown of Westlake, Louisiana. Little did she know that after a career in data base management, she would return to her roots. Linda came across the lumber company while cataloguing businesses in Kendleton with her husband Mike Flory, who is the Kendleton Economic Development Director. As fate may have it, the owner of the lumber company was preparing for retirement and Linda offered to buy it. In 2011, Linda became the new owner of Associated Lumber Enterprises.
Linda knew the lumber industry but needed help with owning and running a business. She reached out to the UH Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Fort Bend County for assistance with her business plan, website, legal assistance and marketing. “We rely on the SBDC as a main resource. Their assistance has been invaluable to us,” said Linda. They also received help with their certifications and are now a WBE (women-owned), DBE (disadvantaged), HUB (historically underutilized), and WBENC (women-owned national) certified business. The SBDC is a resource partner of the SBA that offers one-stop assistance to small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs by providing a wide variety of information and guidance in central and easily accessible branch locations. The University of Houston SBDC network consists of 15 centers. Their services include free confidential counseling and free and affordable workshops and seminars.
ALE’s core business is the re-sawing and fabrication of standard and niche lumber products. They also offer customized services to meet customer demands. ALE is committed to sustainable processes, utilizing 100% of all materials. Three years into the business and ALE has already expanded their services. They have received two contracts to reclaim and refurbish pallets. They currently have five employees with additional part-time employees added seasonally.
ALE’s strong commitment to the environment carries over into the community. They donate to Texana Center, a non-profit that provides behavioral healthcare and developmental disabilities services to residents in the surrounding six counties. ALE donates wood and materials to Texana Center, where individuals with intellectual disabilities turn the materials into rustic décor. The finished products are sold at a resale shop, which provides Texana Center with income and a sustainable vocational opportunity for their residents. On a personal level, Linda and her husband are also involved in many charities.
For more information about ALE, visit www.associatedlumberenterprises.com.