Family owned businesses are the foundation of the American economy, generating 60 percent of the country’s employment and 78 percent of all new job creation. Here, Dan and Laura Caflisch, owners of Caflisch Pallet & Wood Services Inc. in Clymer, New York, talk about what it’s like to operate their family business — one of the leading manufacturers of new, reconditioned and heat-treated pallets in the tri-state area.
The Caflisch family has a long history as business owners in southwestern New York. Dan, tell us how your family lumber business evolved to Caflisch Trucking & Construction Inc. and now Caflisch Pallet & Wood Services Inc.
I grew up working in my family’s building supply and sawmill business. After 90 years, the business dissolved. I then found an opportunity to start moving freight for local companies and our business was born. As years passed, we found our customers requesting that we find reliable sources of pallets for them. Though we began on a very small scale — through word of mouth and servicing our customers — 23 years later, wood pallets are 98 percent of our business. Growing up in a family business at an early age taught me the value of customer commitment and the trust they put in you to supply them.
Describe the products and services your company provides and the footprint of your operation.
We provide new and reconditioned pallets, as well as ISPM certified pallets and boxes for international shipments. Currently, we build over 200 different sizes of pallets, boxes and custom orders for more than 100 manufacturing companies in the tri-state area. We conduct all operations from our Clymer facility, which allows us to service a wide area for “just in time” deliveries. Part of our service includes supplying trailers or offering pick-up service for our customers’ scrap pallets. This material is then refurbished or recycled into reconditioned pallets. Anything not usable is processed into mulch or sawdust for farmers to use.
How many people do you employ and how would you describe your team?
Currently, we employ more than 25 people. Plant employees are crossed-trained in all areas of our manufacturing processes. This allows us to change our build quickly and produce products efficiently. Everyone here works closely together to meet tight deadlines and create custom and innovative solutions to our customers.
Dan, how proud are you to be a family owned business in America today?
I strongly feel America is the best place in the world to start a small business. Anyone with a good idea along with hard work and dedication can build a business that will carry onto future generations. My wife and I are very proud of the business we’ve built Companyand created with the help of our dedicated employees.
What are some of the opportunities and challenges of being a family owned business?
The last eight years have challenged all small business owners. Government regulations and constant increases to health care have made it challenging to companies, as well as their employees. We’ve been adding new equipment to increase production and using new processes to control costs. Over the past several years, we’ve also acquired two companies that have helped us gain market share. With my wife working beside me, in addition to the support of family and great employees, we not only continue to succeed, but also experience continual growth. We look forward to each day and every opportunity that comes with it.
For more information about Caflisch Pallet & Wood Services Inc., visit www.caflischpallet.com.