Company to Produce Wood Shavings

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – Friday was a good day to be in Crockett. First, there was a groundbreaking ceremony at the new location of The Heart Institute of East Texas (covered in another article in this edition of The Messenger). Then, it was learned an east coast, wood-based products company would be opening a plant in Crockett.

The company is named Eastern Shore Forest Products and produces “… a variety of wood-based products ranging from garden mulch to wood shavings and even firewood,” according to a press release from the company.

Tom Johnson, President of Eastern Shore Forest Products, was contacted about the plant and why Crockett was chosen as the location.

“Pine,” he said. “There is an awful lot of pine around the area.  Our decision to expand to Texas is a direct result of the growing demand for our products for animal bedding and poultry litter in the south.”

The company currently operates seven manufacturing facilities in four states. Most of the company’s wood shavings now serve to meet the needs of the poultry industry on the Delmarva Peninsula and animal owners throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and Midwest, according to the media release.

The new wood-shavings mill will be located at the site of the former Zilkha pellet plant.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to open a new plant in Texas and to become part of the Crockett business community. It is particularly gratifying that we are able to locate on the site of a previous mill and restore some of the jobs that were lost when it closed,” the owner/CEO said.

Johnson said operations at the plant should begin by the end of August or the first part of September with 21 employees “… and then probably build to about 50. We’ll be open by the end of the month.”

Johnson said he was lured to the Piney Woods through Gov. Greg Abbott’s economic development team.

“That team has been helping me look at various locations in Texas. We found this particular one that had been closed by the previous owner. The governor’s office has been very supportive and answered any questions we might have about Texas whether it was about electricity or gas or where pipes might be located,” he said.

Johnson was also asked specifically if any assistance had been requested from the Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation (CEIDC).

“No,” he replied. “We didn’t even know they existed. “We found out they existed after a couple of months into the project. Other than that, we didn’t even know they had one.”

The mill will produce, package, and ship pine shavings to retailers throughout the Southern and Western United States for use as animal bedding. The company also offers specialized products, packaging, storage and shipping methods developed exclusively to meet the needs of modern poultry production, a growing industry in Texas, the press release stated.

“We are now recruiting new members to join our team here in Crockett.  We’ll need a variety of employees, ranging from laborers to senior managers, including mechanics and millwrights to keep the state of the art plant operating efficiently. We take great pride in our workers and encourage innovation, clear communication, and worker safety,” Johnson stated.

For more information on opportunities at Eastern Shore Forest Products, Inc. email: info@esforest.com or stop by the plant at 2200 Dobbs St. Crockett, TX, Monday thru Friday between 8:00am and 4:00pm.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.