By Terry Harpole
For the WPT
MABEN — Some people have said, “Out of any small town can come something good,” and the small town of Maben is no exception to this.
More than 20 years ago, Maben Manufacturing, owned by Jackson Manufacturing of Jackson Furniture in Houston, opened a large business in Maben. For a few years, this business did well, but finally shut down and left many people without jobs.
The people in Maben and town officials did not leave or give up. A few years ago, Main Street Forest Products from Spartanburg, S.C., bought the building used to make chairs, now known as Main Street Casual Living, and the frame mill up the hill.
Both places are under the same ownership and the frame mill is still making the frames for the chairs. But MSFP also does business with other companies in the United States and, now, with companies in other countries.
Last week was the beginning of something new for the people up the hill from the chair company building. Main Street Forest Products has begun selling lumber to a company in Vietnam, but needed a way to load the lumber onto trailers to be taken and loaded on barges for shipment to Vietnam.
MSFP hired Joe Winfield, owner of Joe’s Welding and Fabrication, to design and construct a device known as a pusher or ramrod to slide the lumber onto the trailers.
Winfield and one of his employees, Levi Kelly, spent a few hours Saturday making the device to be used. Then, on Monday morning, the people at Main Street Forest Products were able to try and use the new device, and load trailers with lumber for shipment to Vietnam. All went well and trucks were loaded for shipment.
At the time of this report, Main Street Casual Living was busy making lift chairs for many companies in the nation, and even has a contract for chairs with a company in China. These two places on Industrial Road in Maben should increase the interest in more growth of timber in the area.