I was 10 years old when my grandfather died. I knew him as a grandfather, but would like to have known more about his business savy. I was very inquisitive about my grandfather and I guess I still am. He was a local legend and I still hear tales to this day. Of course, by now, I am much more discerning than I was as a child and can separate fact from fiction. Some of the tales never cease to amaze me. It is amazing how much more a total stranger seems to know about me and family than we even know about ourselves. Know what I mean? Heck, if everything I ever heard about me and my family was true I would have died of over indulgence a long time ago on a Caribbean Island with a massive tan and a smile on my face. But, thank God, most of that stuff just ain't true!
When I was a kid my dad always tried to keep me busy doing something outside. We always had a garden, some cattle, lots of dogs, turkey's, geese, and some chickens. Oh, how I hated the day that he built a feeder-pig operation and I was to be the key worker. I think I was about 12-13 when this venture began. It was my responsibility to raise the pigs from birth to market size. Also, I had to manage the herd on a daily basis. This was quiet a choir for a young fellow, but I managed. My dad gave me a sow and my compensation came from taking her piglets to market. When pigs were being born I was often required to stay up all night and watch over the birthing process to insure maximum survival of the piglets. We also would raise watermelons and cucumbers for market.
I look back over all of that and have learned to really appreciate my Dad for working the fool out of me. He didn't quite get it all out of me, but certainly most of it! What he helped to mould into me was a work ethic and values that have helped me tremendously in business and in life. I worked for 3 years out of high school before pursuing a college education. After graduating from Ole Miss and working in Atlanta for a stint, I moved to Fort Walton Beach, FL to work at the family business for a couple of years before settling into this part of the industry in 1993.
I suppose that I have been drawn into this industry because it is in my blood. I am very familiar with everything from timber procurement, to logs, to lumber, to wholesale, and to retail. I have been involved in every aspect. After leaving Ft. Walton, I worked for a wholesale lumber firm for awhile and in 2000 started this business. Mars Hill originally focused on hardwood lumber, but in recent years we have focused on other species and products in order to broaden our supplier/customer base. We focus on domestic business, as I am really intent on creating jobs and security for the American workforce. We have really expanded into the pine industrial spectrum and have several companies that we are partnered with that can put out significant volume and a quality product. Of course, we still handle a large amount of hardwoods, too, in all grades and species, green, kiln-dried, or air-dried. We sell to very large world renown companies as well as to mom an pop manufacturers, and all in between. We sell to solid wood flooring manufacturers, engineered flooring manufacturers, retail distribution yards, wholesale distribution yards, upholstered frame companies, pallet and crating entities, moulding and cabinet operations, stake companies, etc.
We would like to thank all of our customers and suppliers. It is because of you that we are successful. We like to work out long term viable programs that will sustain our suppliers and customers even in hard times. Mars Hill is managed conservatively and is well capitalized. We discount all material invoices and strive to offer customers great value at a good price. Give us a call and speak with one of our sales team to get a program started when you need your next load of material. God has blessed us and it is my prayer that he will bless all of our customers and suppliers, too!!
was founded in 2000 by Ernie Clark the company president. I came from a lumber family. My grandfather, M.S. Gatlin, was the owner of Gatlin Lumber Company. He was known around the south as "Muff" Gatlin. Muff purchased a sawmill in the early 1940's and the legend began. Muff Gatlin was a major land owner in his day. At one point in time he was the largest individual land owner east of the Mississippi River, owning over 60,000 acres. Much of the land was purchased well below $3/acre, some for as little as $1/acre. Muff Gatlin died in 1974 and the mill was shut down shortly afterward. The Gatlin children continue to own and operate 3 retail lumber yards and building supplies named after Mr. Gatlin, one each in Waynesboro, MS, Foley, AL and in Fort Walton Beach, FL. The AL and FL yards were opened in the early 1950's. Beal Parkway in Ft. Walton was a dirt road back then. The purpose of these yards was to provide retail outlets for the Gatlin sawmill.