BOZEMAN- Black Timber Furniture was one company in Montana that was able to stay open and keep their employees paid during the pandemic thanks to a paycheck protection loan.
Todd Fullerton, a Bozeman veteran and owner of Black Timber Furniture, graduated from Montana State University in 2009.
“Then I went to work for a furniture manufacturer that went out of business three months later after I was hired on full-time,” Fullerton said.
After a quick exit in the furniture industry during the Great Recession, Fullerton took what he learned and started Black Timber with just a few employees.
Almost 10 years later, Black Timber Furniture was looking at an almost record year.
“Up until the coronavirus hit, 2020 was going to be by far our best year ever,” Fullerton added.
Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, sales at U.S. furniture stores fell by $7 billion in April and Black Timber Furniture was not immune from the countrywide economic collapse.
“June was a horrible month, July seems to be better, but now that all the numbers are spiking and all that I don’t know,” Fullerton said about the pandemic. “I hope that we can at least maintain all of our employees, basically I’m responsible for anywhere from 12 to 15 families.”
Even though they didn’t have any orders coming in, Black Timber Furniture still had money for payroll, taxes, the lease, and utilities thanks to a $65,000 loan from the federal paycheck protection program.
Black Timber Furniture’s showroom is located in Four Corners while its manufacturing site is located in Belgrade. Almost all of their furniture is hand crafted and locally sourced.
Once the stay-at-home-order was lifted, Fullerton said community members came out in search of locally owned furniture stores that they knew they could trust.
I had a couple come in and they came here just because it was locally made, they’re building their retirement home and they want to support the local environment,” Fullerton said.
Fullerton said it’s a chance to give back to the community that helped him so much especially during these uncertain times.
“All my employees are local, you know so we’re all part of the community, and the money that I pay them trickles back through the community,” Fullerton explained.
More information on Black Timber can be found here.