Baltimore MD – 01-26-2021 — In 2001 a plywood industry veteran, John Emden, formed Chesapeake Plywood. Chesapeake Plywood is a specialty wood products distributor known for its agility and flexibility in providing specialty wood products nationwide
As president of Chesapeake Plywood, John has grown the company to achieve over $20 million in sales, adding public warehousing, and an over the road trucking compan.
In the beginning, Chesapeake Plywood started in a 25,000 square-foot warehouse in South Baltimore. With one goal in mind: to be the largest specialty wood products distributor on the east coast. After a few short years, they annexed the adjoining open space and doubled it to 50,000 square feet. As the years passed, it became obvious that the option for additional space at the original location clearly could not be satisfied.
In 2014 Chesapeake Plywood started searching for a larger facility with enough room for growth. The space increased sixfold in size when John purchased a 150,000 square-foot building in Baltimore’s Orangeville Industrial Area at 3400 East Biddle Street. The building was an old Weyerhaeuser facility on 7-1/2 acres adjoining the formerly well-known Continental Can property.
The 90-year-old building had seen its heyday and was a victim of the great recession, but John saw plenty of potential in the sturdy foundation and convenient location near Baltimore’s port and the I-95 North-South corridor. Chesapeake Plywood scooped up the prime space and made a swift and smooth move, relocating over 200 tractor-trailers of inventory to the new location without interrupting ongoing business operations.
After the new plywood distribution was set up, an underutilized 40,000 square-feet led to Chesapeake Plywood’s sister company’s creation: Chesapeake Warehousing.
Chesapeake Warehousing is a container handling and storage business dedicated exclusively to wood products. This company has grown exponentially over the past several years and unloaded a whopping 800 containers in 2020. Plans are underway to add 50,000 square feet of warehousing space in the form of a new building.
To support our Made in America efforts, plans to re-activate a rail siding are also underway.
During these expansion efforts John also recognized the opportunity to create a trucking division. Chesapeake Wood Express handles plywood and other consumer products throughout the USA. It was time to add a new fleet of trucks, so the company purchased three sleeper cabs and 3 day cab tractor trailers between 2019 and 2020 with plans to purchase new trucks every 5-years. Plans to add a fuel and weigh station to the property are also in the works. Both Chesapeake Plywood and Chesapeake Wood Express have one of the newest fleets of trucks and trailers.
As Chesapeake Plywood hits this major anniversary milestone, one can’t help but reflect on how far the company has come over the past twenty years and how much it continues to grow. Chesapeake Plywood is proud to report a specialty inventory of $4 million, a commodity inventory of over $3 million, sales of $25 million, and have nearly doubled the size of their dedicated team of employees.
John Emden has reached retirement age, but the vision continues to grow. His son, Jeff Emden, has been learning the business, over the last 20 years he has held every position at Chesapeake Plywood and now proudly runs the company as General Manager. He is backed by a staff of young, innovative people, all of whom started in entry level positions. Their ideas and enthusiasm continue to be greatly appreciated by management.
With plywood, warehousing, trucking, and custom milling fabrication, the opportunities are limitless. Chesapeake Plywood can be found online at www.chesapeakeplywood.com.
We are excited to see what the next 20 years hold in store for Chesapeake Plywood!
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