Marks Lumber: A new logo from a trusted brand
Clancy, MT–A family that keeps the same traditions going strong for over 75 years is a family that values commitment.
The Marks family began as a homesteading family in Montana and now operates Marks Lumber–a company with strong values, pride in quality, and commitment to the community. They produce quality lumber products in an ecologically sound fashion from the Marks Ranch in Clancy, Mont.
Modern harvest techniques allow timber to be harvested in a sustainable fashion that provides economic opportunity in the form of beautiful timber products, but leaves behind healthy forests. The whole log is utilized to develop commercially viable products. The best logs make timber products, the lower quality logs are sold as biofuel, or landscaping material.
Keeping traditions alive doesn’t mean that change is unaccepted. Recently they adopted the old mission brand “cross half-circle” as an identifying mark on their business logo. It’s a new logo for a trusted brand.
Steve and Laura empower every employee to take that ownership of their jobs and roles at Marks Lumber. They encourage employees to work hard, absolutely; to innovate, certainly; to grow, of course; and above all, do it with honesty and integrity.
The very historic brand has become a powerful representation of a heritage relating to quality and integrity that the Marks family has built in Montana for generations. For Steve and Laura Marks, owners of the company, the cross half-circle is more than an old brand. It is a symbol of commitment to the concept of ownership and to the personal responsibility for delivering quality. The cross half-circle symbol lives on as both a livestock brand and as a logo representing a promise to the Montana community, the land, the forest, and to quality timber products.
Ernest Marks bought one of the first homesteads, registered in Montana by H.L. Tanner, under the Homestead act of 1864, in the late 1880’s. Ernest began buying homesteads to support his draft horse business and was using the cross half-circle brand on his working stock. The cross half-circle brand was officially registered October 27, 1888, as the 1068th brand recorded in Montana.
Ernest Marks’ son, Merle Marks, continued the agricultural business that had grown to include cattle. Merle also helped neighbors with blacksmithing, and began milling some timber products for mostly agricultural use both on the growing Marks Ranch, but also for many neighbors. The mill was installed around 1938. All of these endeavors allowed Merle to trade for additional property in the area. Merle, under the guidance of his Uncle Irving Marks, and with the help of many neighbors, completed building the large white barn with the white cross half-circle brand on the green roof at the entrance to Marks Lumber in 1926.
During the 40’s and 50’s the Marks family continued both ranching and milling rough lumber as an extra source of income to support the cattle operation. Merle’s son Bob, along with his wife Barbara, continued ranching, using the cross half-circle brand. Bob also continued milling rough lumber to supplement the cattle ranching operation.
(center) Owner Steve Marks with his son (left) Cody Marks and dad (right) Bob Marks.
In the late 1980’s, current Marks Lumber owner, one of Bob and Barbara’s sons, Steve and his wife Laura, retrofitted the old mill and began making railroad cross-ties to support their cattle operation. While manufacturing cross-ties, design and construction began on the current mill, which was completed in 2000.
Completion of the big sawmill was a key milestone. However, Steve realized the need to continually innovate for improved efficiency in terms of product recovery, product diversity, and labor efficiency. The following list of major enhancements are guide posts for the continual evolution and innovation at Marks Lumber:
1998 – Addition of a planer mill to provide many additional specialty products
2005-2006 – Addition of a bio-fuel powered dry-kiln to improve product quality
2008 – Addition of a band mill to improve efficiency in the mill
2006 – 2010 – Grinding capability and a Bark Sorting Plant to help monetize wood-fiber that had previously been burned. Additional products include: Engineered Wood fiber, for playground safety; decorative bark, for gardening and landscaping; mulch, both natural and colored, for landscaping; and soil conditioner and compost
2008 – Built a full timber frame, 4400 sq foot office and showroom
2009 – Addition of an in-house timber frame shop to provide the value-added service of complete timber frame construction to customers
2016 – Addition of an optimizing trim saw and end-matcher to improve product quality, make our flooring easier to install, while improving product recovery from our wood-fiber investment
Marks Lumber will have a booth at the MATE show February 15-17th at MetraPark. Meet the Marks family and team in booth 209 in the Expo Center Building. Marks Lumber has been coming to MATE for many years and won the Best Booth Award in 2015.
For more information on Marks Lumber visit their website http://www.markslumber.com
For more on the MATE Show and Home and Health Expo, visit http://www.themateshow.com
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the June 19, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News