NL

Turning around employment woes with wood

Husband and wife buy Torbay Road firewood business after layoffs

Firewood Factory NL

Luke and Kaylen Janes bought Firewood Factory NL earlier this year. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

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Starting a family, getting laid off and a longtime love of lumber all contributed to turning Luke and Kaylen Janes into a self-professed firewood family who run their own business.

"We've always had some affection to wood," said Luke. "I grew up around it and it made sense to carry on with it."

The husband and wife duo bought Firewood Factory on Torbay Road earlier this year, which sells different types of wood.

But it wasn't their first career choice.

From oil to wood

"Our lives looked very different a couple of years ago," said Kaylen.

She was working full-time and Luke was working offshore and both travelled extensively for the their jobs.

'I grew up around [wood] and it made sense to carry on with it.' - Luke Janes

"We did enjoy that lifestyle at the time. But when our first child was born, it changed our perspective on things," said Kaylen.

The new plan was for her to stay home with their son full-time, but then Luke lost his job. 

Luke Jaynes

Even as a 11-year-old boy, Luke Jaynes loved cutting wood. (Firewood Factory NL/Submitted)

"We've always had an interest in this sort of business and, lo and behold, the opportunity came up. So we decided the time was now," said Luke. 

No clear-cutting here

Firewood Factory is a valid timber vendor, which means all of its wood is sustainably-sourced from harvesters in central Newfoundland.

"This means that each forestry district within Newfoundland, they determine an annual allowable cut and that's the amount of wood that can be sustainably cut in each district," said Kaylen.

Firewood

Just some of the wood at Firewood Factory NL. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

Luke said it's what sets their business apart from other similar ventures.

"A lot of people probably have experiences going on-line, finding an ad...of someone who's selling a bit of wood, but a lot of that wood is cut on Crown land, without harvesting permits," he said. "It's not factored into the allowable cut rate." 

Business is burning up

Kaylen said they have no regrets and have gotten into the swing of things.

'We've probably never worked so hard in our life.' - Luke Janes

"Like any business in your first year, there's a lot of things to tackle. We're growing steadily, but we hope to continue to grow of course."

For Luke, his childhood love of cutting wood led to a more fulfilling future for his family.

"It's a big learning curve, and quite different from what we used to do," he said. 

"We've probably never worked so hard in our life."