Rhonda and Tim Taylor are the owners of Pacific Firewood on Freedom Boulevard. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)
WATSONVILLE — If a cozy fire and a fragrant, decorated Christmas tree is on the agenda this season, then Pacific Firewood & Lumber, Inc. is the perfect one-stop shop.
The holiday season is indeed a busy time for the business, which provides firewood, custom-milled lumber and a variety of other services throughout the year. But after Thanksgiving the 14,000-square-foot warehouse becomes a Christmas tree sales area.
Dozens of customers were milling among the trees Tuesday, looking at noble, grand, Nordman and silver tip trees with choices that range from tabletop to live to fresh-cut.
Christmas music was playing overhead as several large inflatable Christmas decorations looked on.
For customers who desire a snowy look on their tree, the business offers custom flocking. In fact, one out of every five trees sold there have been festooned with the fake snow, which is a non-toxic mixture of wood pulp and boron.
Tim Taylor, who owns the business, began his career in wood when he was a boy, chopping logs for his mother to burn in her Wedgewood stove.
“I’ve always done it,” he said. “I cut wood so my mom could cook dinner.”
She eventually cooked on an electric stove, but Taylor kept selling wood to friends and family.
At the same time he was helping his father restore missions throughout California, eventually making 60,000 adobe bricks. But because that work slows to a crawl in the winter, he stayed with firewood to make money.
He launched Tim’s Tree Service and Firewood in 1982, selling boxed firewood, and eventually changed the business’ name to Pacific Firewood & Lumber, Inc.
The business started in mid-county, and moved to its Watsonville location at 2536 Freedom Blvd. in 1991.
It has since become a thriving business, with 18 employees and a list of services that includes land clearing and log hauling throughout the county.
The company recently cleared a patch of land at Fort Ord so it could be cleared of unexploded ordinance, a job requiring Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response training.
“We do work all over the area, pretty much wherever we’re needed,” Taylor said.
Customers in need of firewood can choose from oak, madrone, eucalyptus, pine and bay, sold in portions from small boxes to cords.
Taylor began selling Christmas trees at the suggestion of a friend, and has built a loyal following of customers, many of whom came as children and now bring their own kids to get Christmas trees.
“It’s kind of a family tradition,” Taylor said.
After a season battling with flimsy tree stands, Taylor designed his own, an amalgam of a stout tree stump, a water reservoir and a metal post that holds the tree upright, allows it to be spun and easily adjusted. The invention was so successful that friends tell him he should patent it.
Not a lumber yard in the traditional sense, Pacific Firewood offers custom-cut wood, from 8 by 12 inches to 25 feet long, and for small-scale projects such as tables, bars and counters.
One customer asked for a three-inch thick, eight-inch round block of wood for a project for a dental class.
“Where else could he get something like that in Santa Cruz County,” Tim Taylor’s son Luke Taylor said.
As he nears 60, Tim Taylor said he plans to cede the business to his sons, Luke and Logan.
“It’s wonderful,” he said. “I started out building this business out of a pickup truck. The reason we’re so successful is that I always guarantee customer satisfaction.”
Pacific Firewood & Lumber, Inc. is located at 2536 Freedom Blvd. in Watsonville. For information call 722-9663 or visit www.pacificfirewood.com.
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