Gary Goby founded the timber retailer that bears his name in order to meet his children’s university costs. It was ran from a barn-cum-workshop on his six acres of land in Oregon in the U.S. He had no idea that a few years later the company’s annual sales would have reached seven figures, that it would employ five people, and that it would fill a five acre lot and a 10,000 square foot warehouse.

But what allowed Goby Walnut & Western Hardwoods to reach these dizzy heights? Well, the company is unique in that it only sells timber from diseased, dying and dead trees. They salvage the trees from property owners across the American Northwest and California, putting beautiful timber, that after preparation you can’t tell is any different (see the adjacent black walnut), to good use.

Aptly, the company is now based in Portland Oregon, where current owner Art Blumenkron, who is responsible for the company’s expansion, moved it. Portland, as you may or may not know, is famed as America’s – and one of the world’s – greenest cities, so is ideal for this green company. Every last part of the trees is put to use, the company trucks run on biodiesel and it is developing a way to use walnut shavings (the juglans oil in walnut is a natural weed suppressant) as a weed killer.

Goby originally dealt only in Walnut, but the company will now salvages any hardwood. The finely figured timber is not cheap, and most of their customers are from a higher income bracket, but they do sell smaller pieces for those not ready to invest large sums of money. Its clients include Gibson (best known for their guitars) as well as high end New York furniture makers.

The company’s website can be found here, and a more detailed story about the company can be found on the website of The Oregonian newspaper.