Franklin Countys First News

Wood pellet distributor expands service with Spruce Mountain grad at the helm


James Barker at Wood Pellet Warehouse.

JAY - A locally-located wood pellet distributor is expanding this summer, with a Spruce Mountain graduate and University of Maine student managing the company's newest venture.

Wood Pellet Warehouse, located on Route 17 in North Jay, is offering bulk pellet delivery throughout the state beginning this month. The company, which offers hard and softwood pellets, has installed a 56-ton holding silo and will pump pellets directly from its delivery trucks into residential pellet heating systems. The Warehouse is managed by James Barker, a 21-year-old of Turner that graduated from Spruce Mountain High School in 2012.

Barker is the son of Steve Barker, who acquired the North Jay Warehouse after his employer G.H. Bass closed in 2004. With an eye toward developing a company that could serve the needs of the community, he opened the North Jay Redemption Center and the J and I Indoor Yard Sale over the next several months. Then, in 2007, he began distributing bags and pallets of wood pellets.

James Barker with the newly-installed silo for loose wood pellets. The company will be offering bulk delivery services in August.

James Barker with the newly-installed silo for loose wood pellets. The company will be offering bulk delivery services this month.

James Barker has worked for the business going back to the redemption center, when he could be found slinging bottles after school. He grew up in Jay and attended Spruce Mountain High School, playing football and basketball. He graduated from the school's then-north campus in 2012, part of the first post-consolidation class.

From there, Barker went to the University of Maine at Orono. He is in his fourth year of the school's business finance program. Thanks to technology, James Barker can manage the business while attending school in Orono. The classwork comes in handy, he noted, when it came to the Wood Pellet Warehouse.

"It correlates 100 percent," Barker said. As director of operations and sales, he runs inventory management and tracks the delivery of thousands of tons of pellets, Barker said. Wood Pellet Warehouse was the largest independent dealer of the fuel in the state, Barker noted. "We want to keep growing that."

As it enters a new heating season, the company regularly receives anywhere between eight and 15 truckloads of pellets a week, all coordinated by James Barker. Each shipment is delivered to North Jay or a new location in Turner, and from there shipped out to homes and businesses from "Calais to Kittery," according to Barker.

Part of their success had been the identification some of the highest quality products, Barker said, and making certain to back them with good customer service. The Barkers: Steve, James and Ida Barker, also credit the "hard work and strong family ties" they bring to the business, James Barker said.

"The three of us really work as a team," he said, "and it works out great."

James Barker added that they were also looking into further expansion beyond the bulk delivery service, which has recently added two trucks to keep up with demand. The company currently employs six people and hopes to add three full-time employees over the next few years.

More information about the Wood Pellet Warehouse can be found here.

The 56-ton silo is assembled outside of the North Jay Warehouse in North Jay.

The 56-ton silo is assembled outside of the North Jay Warehouse in North Jay.


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7 Responses »

  1. I remember this young man as a quality worker. Good luck in this new venture,James.

  2. Great to see a local business doing well!

  3. Excellent company to do business with. Congratulations!

  4. Good luck to all of the Barkers! Great people to work for! Thanks for keeping a company in our locality!!

  5. Well done, James! Can't say I'm surprised, though; your work ethic and intelligence speak to what Franklin County kids are capable of... :-)

  6. Solid work ethic and business sense, quality products at reasonable prices, and family roots…sounds like a win-win for your growing statewide customer base!

  7. Good folks for sure!