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Thomson Oak Flooring closing shop after 54 years in business

The saws and machinery are silent at the Thomson Oak Flooring Company. The company has liquidated and is closing its doors after 54 years of business.

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Auctioneer Johnny Kimbel stands atop parts for a de-barker at Thomson Oak Flooring on Saturday.

"We feel awful, it's been hard on us as a family," said owner Preston Kimbrel. "We tried everything we could to ride this wave out, but you can only ride it for so long. This is not a decision we wanted to make."

Mr. Kimbrel said the flooring market is at an "all-time low right now, and you need to be a large distributor, but we're medium-sized, and our equipment is relatively old."

He explained that the housing market is great, so the general public has the misconception that the flooring market should be great, "but there are so many options now to choose from."

Thomson Oak Flooring only produces 2 inch width unfinished flooring lumber. Mr. Kimbrel said oak used to be the only species of hardwood flooring available. Now there are Hickory, Brazilian Cherry, pre-finished, and 3-5" plank flooring.

"We would have to do a lot of retooling to be competitive. If we change, for example to pre-finished, then we don't know which way the market will go, and we might be in the same predicament," Mr. Kimbrel said.

An absolute auction by Tri-State Auction and Realty, L.L.C. was held Saturday. Mr. Kimbrel said they were "pleased with the outcome." Now that the equipment is gone, they will be working on removing all the raw lumber left on the property, then developing the property for market.
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Mr. Kimbel takes bids for electrical equipment at Thomson Oak Flooring Saturday.

Thomson Oak Flooring employed 103 people. Mr. Kimbrel said many have found jobs at the sawmill in Camak, and many "who were here for 30 years, decided to retire, and they are actually enjoying themselves."

"They come here to go fishing, and to visit. If we have some odd jobs that need to be done, we definitely give them a call, and they come work," Mr. Kimbrel said.

Wahldean Brunson retired from Thomson Oak Flooring in 1995 after 35 years of working in the company office.

"I love the Thomson Oak Flooring Company. It is sad to me that they had to close," Mrs. Brunson said. "It was a small company, but a good company, it provided me with a good living. But I understand the reasons they are closing, and I think it was a wise decision on the part of the owners and management. I love retirement-I worked hard, so now I'm playing hard. And I've nothing but compliments for that company."



Web posted on Thursday, June 9, 2005











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