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Em”bark”ing on a New Product Journey

With the help of: Missouri Enterprise

About

Ozark Shavings Company was founded in 2009 as a fourth installment component to a family of companies in land management and Missouri wood-based product manufacturing. Deeply rooted in forest ownership and manufacturing, Ozarks Shavings is based in Licking, Missouri, where it produces wood shavings for pet and animal bedding.

The Challenge

An enormous amount of wood waste material is left behind from manufacturing processes. Rather than taking the waste to a landfill or allowing it to sit dormant on the property which could become a fire hazard, CEO Rob Rogers wanted to find a way to put the waste to work. Rogers turned to Missouri Enterprise, a representative of the MEP National Network, to help Ozark Shavings embark on the new product journey.

The Missouri Enterprise Team Members have been an incredible resource for Ozark Shavings. The team not only created a clear plan for funding our value-added project but provided all the necessary tools to achieve the goals set forth. Their hard work and dedication to the process was invaluable. We look forward to a continued partnership with Missouri Enterprise to execute our common goal of growing and shaping Missouri Business for the future.
— Rob Rogers, CEO

MEP's Role

Turning to Missouri Enterprise for assistance with market research, a feasibility study, a competitive analysis, and materials sourcing, Ozark Shavings began to move forward with four solid value-added wood waste products: bark material, shavings material, compost materials, and mulch. With the goal of selling to smaller home centers and landscaping retail operations for both home and commercial beautification and decoration, Ozark needed special equipment to further break down the waste.

Jimmy Story, Business Program Manager for Missouri Enterprise, helped Ozark Shavings apply for an Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority (EIERA) grant which provides loans and sub-grants to help companies add value to a waste product. Awaiting the grant approval, Jimmy worked to connect the company with other businesses in the saw and wood industry to sustain sources for the wood waste.

Within a few months, the grant application was approved. Ozarks Shavings began to lease equipment, hire new employees, develop new manufacturing processes, and cultivate new clients. By the spring of 2020, the company went to market with the new product lines.

“The new development through these grants have furthered our commitment for a no waste policy to help protect the environment thus making our world a better place. This project has increased our company’s bottom line by taking what was a waste item, that had to be disposed of for a fee, and turning it into a new product with a positive revenue stream,” said Rogers. “This project has allowed Ozark Shavings Company to become more of an asset to our community in our ability to hire more people and create a stronger economy. We have also continued to hire throughout the Covid-19 crisis. I would like to thank the State of Missouri and the Missouri Enterprise team for their assistance in the creation of new ways to build communities.”

Created July 8, 2020