Tricon mill sold to Idaho Forest Group

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Tricon Timber in St. Regis processed its last load of lumber on Nov. 21. The sawmill has been sold to the Idaho Forest Group. (File photo)

The Idaho Forest Group, one of the nationís largest lumber producers has entered into a binding contract with Tricon Timberís sawmill in St. Regis, one of Mineral Countyís largest employers.

ďThe St Regis sawmill acquisition supports our continued growth and will be an excellent strategic addition to our existing operations in Northern Idaho,Ē the groupís vice president of sales and marketing, Erol Deren

A spokeman for Tricon said the acquisition is a very good thing for the county. Idaho Forest Group is a very progressive company, and ďthey want to make improvements to the mill and they want to be in the lumber business.Ē

The majority of the Tricon employees will remain at the mill. Idaho Forest Group does not have plans to bring in their own people but rather utilize the staff currently in place. However, current employees will have to pass a pre-employment interview process and have drug testing done. The new company will also offer better benefits for its employees.

The Idaho group is big on Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules and regulations and they are already putting additional safety features into place. along with a new break room and other facility improvements.

They will also be upgrading some of the equipment and eventually manufacture 12 foot boards, which better fit their market. Currently, Tricon is a stud lumber mill and offers 2x4 and 2x6 boards up to nine feet long.

Tricon started the St. Regis mill in 1989 and owner Ken Verley has been wanting to retire. He and the other company owners saw this as a good move for the mill and the community.

Idaho Forest Group was formed when Riley Creek Lumber and Bennett Forest Industries merged in 2008. The company is reportedly one of Americaís top producers of wood products.

An employee party was held on Tuesday, November 21. As part of the ceremony, the final two boards produced where pulled and all the employees signed them. A tradition that started when the first board was pulled in 1989 and everybody sign it. The boards along with the first and last production reports and other memorabilia will be saved for posterity as Triconís legacy comes to an end.

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