M.C. Dixon Lumber Company was founded in 1928 by the late Mack Dixon, grandfather of the current owner. In 1936 the business moved from Clayton, AL to Eufaula, AL. The current site was a concentration yard with a planer mill. During that period the saw mills operated remotely on timber tracts in the surrounding counties of Southeast Alabama and Southwest Georgia. In the early 1950’s, the first stationary sawmill was built on the current site, sawing pine logs during the day and hardwood at night. In the mid 1950’s, Bobby Dixon, the oldest son returned home from military service and joined the business; his younger brother following nine years later after his military service. After the death of their father in 1968, the brothers assumed ownership and operated the business for the next thirty four years. Throughout that period the mill was known as a large log mill, concentrating on wide dimension for the housing market. In 1979 during the energy crisis, a steam boiler and CO-Generation plant was added. In 1988, Bob Dixon, Jr. returned home from his service as an Operations officer in the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division and joined the business.
Over the next ten years as Vice President of Operations, Bob, Jr. focused on production, maintenance, technology, and products. During this era, Dixon Lumber moved into 5/4 decking and high grade boards to compliment the traditional wide dimension. At this time, Bob, Jr. also assumed leadership of the family timber and land business. He grew this business with organic logging crews and also began the “gate wood” program using independent contractors and dealers to supply logs, until now a relatively unknown method in this area. Bob, Jr. has also begun a program to increase the family land base with timber tract purchases. Another area of focus was to increase the number of customers in their land management program.
In 2002, Bobby decided he wanted to retire. Bob, Jr. then put together a plan to purchase the mill from his father and uncle. With completion of the purchase he could now include sales and personnel in his focus to grow the business. He changed the sales focus away from brokers and distributors to direct sales to treating plants and end users. He began an annual “program” with customers and increased volumes to them so he could be a significant and reliable supplier. During the early 2000’s, Dixon Lumber was the only independent mill International Paper had supplying their “prime” lumber program direct to the large box stores. During these years Dixon Lumber grew organic production through efficiencies reaching levels above 100 mmbf/ per year, accomplishing this without capital project expansion. The contributor being involving people in the process and the business, and giving employees a “sense of ownership.” Throughout the early 2000’s, Dixon focused on running the business and repaying the debt he had taken on in the buyout of his family. In 2007, the lumber market began dropping with the fall of the housing boom. Facing continuous monthly losses for third and fourth quarters of 2007 and first quarter of 2008, he decided to temporarily halt manufacturing. After a year of the recession it was evident the housing market was not coming back anytime soon. Dixon then had to develop a plan to reinvent himself to survive.
In 2008, after a thorough market study, Dixon decided to convert his traditional large log mill geared for the housing market to a small timbers mill focused on the treated outdoor living products. He felt this niche would protect us from the lumber cycles and move us to a less commodity product and have low CapEx requirements. Through the continued efforts of Dixon and the retooling of the mill to diversify its product mix to compete in today’s lumber industry, the mill restarted in April of 2010. Starting with thirty employees, this company has grown strong over three-quarters of a century; weathering the Great Depression and several postwar recessions, one of which shut down hundreds of mills across the country. M.C. Dixon Lumber Company, Inc. now employs over one hundred people and manufactures high quality green and kiln dried southern yellow pine lumber. Although small by some of the nationally known industry giants, we are just as efficient and manufacture a product of such quality that we have become a leader in providing the competition for others to meet. As Eufaula’s “oldest industry,” plans for the future include continued growth, not only in capacity, but in the efficient handling of our material from the forest to the finished product.