It’s a little-known part of their business, but Katahdin Cedar Log Homes has a thriving international market for their manufactured log home kits. Typically for orders in the U.S., the log home packages are transported via flatbed trucks. Those size constraints are a natural transition to loading the carefully sorted and shrink-wrapped logs into shipping containers for delivery to overseas markets.
“We’ve been shipping Katahdin Log Homes overseas to a handful of countries for 15 years now,” explained David Gordon, president of Katahdin. The first homes were shipped to Japan, while others have found their way to France and Israel. Builders from Australia and Scotland also have deposits tendered.
More recently in 2011, Gordon was approached by a Chinese company, Syswin USA, hoping to learn more about Katahdin and the quality of their log home product. The plan was to build a log home resort around a small man-made lake and a central lodge in Chengdu Province in the People’s Republic of China. Three California-based Chinese marketing representatives arrived in Maine, then continued on to Presque Isle to tour a 9,000-sq. ft. Katahdin log home. This home (left) would be the basis for the lodge design.
The Syswin CEO, vice president and marketing director then toured the main manufacturing facility and were treated to a Maine lobster dinner. Later in August, Gordon, Marketing Director Gabe Gordon and VP Barry Ivey traveled to Beijing and Chengdu to meet with the developers over a week, touring the region where the homes would be built. Ultimately Katahdin was awarded the contract and the 10,000-sq. ft. lodge was shipped to China. Read more here.
It takes some skill to navigate the water of international trade, and Gordon relied on the experts at Maine’s International Trade Center for advice on cultural and business relationships. Katahdin also was fortunate to have a dealer on their team who had built homes in China previously. Ben Lowe from Lowe Carpentry in Wendell, N.C., was sent to train the Chinese workers in the methods for constructing Katahdin Cedar Log Homes properly.
This month, the international trade continues as three more log home kits will be loaded into containers and shipped to China for construction.