May 24, 2001
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
|Looking Forward! With months of tedious negotiations behind them, Pyramid owners are looking to the future after concluding a financial and ownership reorganization in the past two weeks. Joining the Johnson families in Pyramid ownership is Charlee Parke (center left) who purchased the stock of the Alfred and Doug Mood families. At right is Roger Johnson, Pyramid president, and his sons, Todd (far left) and Steve (center right) who retain Pyramid stock.|
Pyramid Mountain Lumber is currently accepting applications for general labor positions. Pick up application at main office. 677-2201. EEO Employer.
by Gary Noland
Last November it appeared there would never be any more ads like the one above which has run in the last two issues of the Pathfinder.
The ad is reassuring to Seeley Lake businesses, school officials and just about everyone else in this small, mountain community which last November faced the prospect of losing its main employer when the saw mill fell on rough times.
But instead of an auction planned by the mill owners when they announced a permanent shutdown last Novemberwe now have help wanted ads, equipment on order, a new major stockholder, and a relieved community which had earlier contemplated the loss of over 100 jobs and an exodus of families and school-age children.
Saving Pyramid became the focus of efforts by Missoula County Commissioners who enlisted the support of the Missoula Area Economic Development Corporation and its executive director Dick King.
King put together a financial plana $7 million plus packagethat involved Community Development Block Grant money, federally guaranteed bank loans, and a re-structuring of existing Pyramid debt.
All these pieces had to fall together in time for Pyramid to make a decision whether to continue operations or hold an auction as planned earlier for this spring. The process prevailed over almost six months, reaching a final, positive conclusion just under two weeks ago when a stock sale was finalized.
Doug Mood, whose father co-founded Pyramid just over 50 years ago, announced in early March that he and his brother Alfred, both active in mill management for many years, had agreed to sell their stock in Pyramid to Charlie Parke of Parke Logging in Drummond. The sale, however, was contingent upon the financial re-organizational plan meeting with approval from all the parties involved.
One by one the pieces fell together when Missoula County Commissioners approved a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant which was then approved at the state level by the Montana Department of Commerce. Missoula Area Economic Development corporation approved a $332,000 loan. Two Rivers Bank of Bonner approved a $4.6 million loan which was finally approved the by U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program which guarantees 80 percent of that loan.
And, when all that was done, the Moods and Charlie Parke concluded a stock sale on May 10 that ended 51 years of Mood family ownership.
Stock in Pyramid is held by Roger Johnson, president, whose father co-founded the mill, his sons, Steve and Todd who have been active in sales and personnel management for several years, and now Charlie Parke.
Parke, who attended his first board meeting last Wednesday, has been a farmer, rancher and businessman in the Drummond area. "I got into logging many years ago in order to keep the farm going. Now I'm getting into a mill operation to keep my logging business going. I don't know what I'm going to do when I grow up," he laughed.
Pyramid has on order $2 million in equipment that will help the mill compete in today's market.