~Pictured above: Rocky standing in front of the first West Penn Hardwoods warehouse in 1995~
West Penn Hardwoods, Inc. was started back in 1995, by Rocky and Kim Mehta as a retail specialty lumber business where anyone could come in and buy small or large quantities of American hardwoods at fair prices. In the beginning we offered only the standard domestics like red oak, white oak, cherry, ash, maple, walnut and hickory. We soon started getting customers who wanted figured domestic hardwoods, so we ventured into curly and quartersawn domestics. We pride ourselves on having the largest variety of figured domestic hardwoods on the East Coast, and maybe in the whole country! Not only do we have most species in quartersawn, but many are available in curly-quartersawn as well.
We soon realized that there were tons of other species out there in this big world and we started offering exotic wood to our customers. Of course the exotics also come in a variety of figured species, so that was the next addition to our selections. We have become the premier East Coast supplier of exotic hardwoods, offering such hard to find species as Pomelle and Waterfall Bubinga, Bee’s Wing Mahogany, Quilted Sapele, Curly Makore, and many other musical grade woods.
Our most recent addition has been turning stock. We understand that turners are a separate sub-culture unto themselves and have very specific needs. We now inventory figured domestic and exotic woods in commonly used sizes for pool cue makers, material for knife makers and pen turners, as well as bowl blanks up to 10 x 10 x 4” thick. We consistently have a great supply of Lignum Vitae, Australian Burls, Pink Ivory, East Indian Rosewood, African Blackwood and Ebony as well as the more commonly found items like Cocobolo, Purple Heart and Bloodwood. These are just a few of the many species we now offer in all different sizes.
It is hard to say what will be the next addition to our wide offerings, but be assured that if it is a size or species that you are having trouble getting, we will do our best to add it to our regular inventory!
**Update – 2015**
About a year ago we decided to open another location near Charlotte, NC. Many people have been curious to know why we would move our whole company. The answer to that question is many-folded. Firstly, Rocky HATES winter! Rocky and Kim for years had thought how nice it would be to live where you can enjoy being outdoors year round and since they don’t ski, Western New York wasn’t the best place for them.
The second thing is that we import 6-8 shipments a month from overseas and our trucking costs to Western New York were very high. Being closer to the southern ports has been a huge cost savings for the company.
The third thing is TAXES! North Carolina is a much more business friendly state and not only does the company see tax savings, so do our employees!
Finally, when we asked our NY staff if anyone would want to move to North Carolina with the company all hands went up in the air. In the end about half of our staff moved to North Carolina which helps a lot with the transition as well as keeping our loyal customers happy!
We look forward to great things at our new location and hope you can stop by and see us sometime!!