Old Wood Goes Prime Time
Santa Fe father-and-son business to appear on CNBCLocal NewsTuesday, August 4, 2015
Tune in Wednesday at 8 pm on CNBC and check out a Santa Fe family business that’s managed to make a profit out of burned pines by treating the downed timbers and then creating environmentally friendly wood floors out of them.
Santa Fe’s very own father-and-son team, David and Shiloh Old, will appear for about seven minutes on Blue Collar Millionaires, a cable television show whose introduction every week features unlikely entrepreneurs who hit it big by getting "their hands dirty" and going through a lot of "mud, sweat and tears.”
The Olds, ages 60 and 26, will be featured in the second snippet, and both father and son will let a good deal of the television viewing public in on the secrets behind the recent success of their business, Old Wood.
It’s an appropriately named company whose showroom opened just a year ago in downtown Santa Fe and whose warehouse sits in Las Vegas. With 25 employees, the company’s total revenue climbed to $1.2 million over last year, and it's all because they're taking dead trees and making them live again in homes and businesses and theaters.
“We’ve managed to tap into the green market," says David Old, whose 2,400-acre family ranch 10 miles north of Pecos suffered a series of wildfires in the last decade. “The bad is we lost acres and acres of trees. The good, I guess, is that it’s driven us into this entirely different market where we have been forced to reclaim the wood.
“And so far, it’s been a big hit with the customers.”
There’s something about recycling that’s always a hit among customers, and in Old Wood’s case, the buyers cover a wide scale, from a series of Starbucks in Colorado to the Hotel Santa Fe’s lobby, which is replete with timber that fell from a wildfire.
Other customers include the Flatbush Hotel in New York City, the Mexican embassy in South Texas, two hotels in Singapore, the Russian and Korean national theaters and even hotels in the Republic of Georgia.
While the Old family has managed to create a niche for itself and is federally certified in sustainable processes, it took years to get where it’s at today because of the forest fires.
At the beginning, Old Wood was just a regular flooring business whose first big customer was Don Imus, a New York radio personality who had a ranch in Ribera. Since then, there has been no turning back, just the obvious struggles along the way due to the wildfire devastation.
“One day you’re bragging about your inventory and how much virgin timber you’ve got, then the next day you’re watching it go up in flames,” says Old, whose ranch was hit by both the Viveash Fire in May 2000 and the Tres Lagunas Fire in 2013.
If there’s any telltale sign that the wood flooring has been through a lot, it would be the blue stain that comes with some of the pine, the result, actually, of the saliva of the bark beetles that have left their calling cards after the fires, Old says.
The company also works with the Jemez Pueblo and the Navajo Alamo in New Mexico, whose lands and timber have also been devastated by wildfires, something the father said he’d probably never be doing otherwise.
“It’s united us in a spirit and a common cause,” he says, “and that’s to make something good out of dead wood.”