Port Townsend wood products co. wins federal award


Edensaw Woods doesn’t just provide wood to boats around the world – it’s a pillar in the Port Townsend, Wash., community. The wood products company provides 45 jobs and countless donations to community groups and nonprofits. When you hear the story of Edensaw Woods and its co-founder James “Kiwi” Ferris, you won’t be surprised that Ferris was just honored as the 2016 Washington State Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Ferris’ nominator for the award, Ben Crowl of First Sound Bank, said it was a simple decision for him. (Ferris, a New Zealand native, is known as “Kiwi.”)

“We were thrilled to hear Kiwi was named “Business Person of the Year” for Washington. Nominating Kiwi was easy because he was able to successfully lead his company through the great recession while still being an incredible steward to his employees and community. From his work with Sound Experience to the Edensaw Community Cancer Foundation, we could not think of anyone more deserving. We feel fortunate to have known him for many years and we’re proud to be his bank.”

Ferris co-founded the company 32 years ago, “providing wood products to fellow boat-builders, and other professionals such as cabinet makers, homebuilders, and furniture makers.” Now the growth is clear.

Wood from Edensaw can be seen on boats all over the world, from multi-million dollar yachts, to small kayaks and canoes, as well as homes, furniture, and much more. From Edensaw’s World Headquarters in Port Townsend and their additional location in Tacoma, the company is able to serve the Puget Sound region, and also sends product to every corner of the country and overseas. Edensaw Woods has become a go-to name in the industry for woodworkers, from the highly skilled professional to the at home enthusiast.

Ferris told the Port Townsend Leader why he thought he won the award.

“I’m representing everyone who works for me. I couldn’t have done it without them, my family, customers, suppliers, nonprofits,” Ferris said Monday, sitting in his office just outside Port Townsend.

Asked what one thing he attributed to his success, Ferris said, “I guess we really put the customer first and make sure we supply superior products.”

Winning the Washington award means Ferris is also eligible for the National Small Business Person of the Year. He thinks he has as good a chance as anyone.

A business from every state as well as several districts and territories, for a total of 54, have been selected to participate in the event May 1-2 in Washington, D.C., where a national winner is to be announced.

Ferris hopes he and his wife, Auman Vansandt, might return in May with that national honor.

“Well, there are 54 [nominees] and someone has to win it,” he smiled.