Cody and Ashley Koke share a love for the outdoors and a deep passion for the logging industry on PEI. The couple, who have two young children, wanted to start their own business in addition to their full-time jobs.
With strong work ethics, high energy and an entrepreneurial spirit, Cody and Ashley opened Timber Koke’s Sawmill near Montague in 2015.
The year-round business provides custom band-saw milling, rough lumber, slabs and campfire wood. It carries a wide variety of dimensional rough lumber as well as offering custom sawing and log pick-up and delivery.
The sawmill business also supplies lobster trap materials to those in the fishing industry, Island-wide.
“Although the sawmill industry on PEI is a long-standing and traditional one, the number of sawmills willing to perform custom, one-off and unique orders is few,” says Cody.
As demand for their products grew, the couple looked for a way to expand their sawmill business.
They learned about the business-related resources at Rural Action Centre (RAC) on Main Street in Montague.
The RAC offers client-focused, one-stop services and houses municipal, federal, provincial and non-government organizations focused on business and community development.
Some services provided by the RAC
- Business loans and guidance for small & medium-size entrepreneurs
- Government programs for community & business development
- Entrepreneur education & management development to assist business start-ups
- Support for expansion and diversification of existing businesses
- Tourism product development & marketing.
Cody and Ashley met with Martina MacDonald, General Manager of the RAC, to discuss their business proposal. The couple was eligible for a small business loan through Community Business Development Corporation housed out of the RAC.
Helen Antle, Business Development Loans Officer at the RAC, provided assistance with developing a business plan and provided business advice.
Ashley later enrolled in two business programs offered at the RAC: Information Technology and Bookkeeping.
The loan and the business advice allowed the couple to expand their business in 2017 with the purchase of a larger sawmill and more equipment. Their business flourished with sales to Island-wide and off-Island markets, which resulted in the hiring of four Labourers.
“We would not have been able to expand the business without the support of the RAC,” says Ashley. “Within a short period of time, we were able to work out a plan which enabled Timber Koke’s to grow yet again with the assistance of another loan through the RAC.
“In 2018, we purchased a pulp truck and trailer to pick up customer logs and deliver lumber,” says Cody. “We will continue growing the business and hiring staff as needed.”
For more information on the Rural Action Centres, visit www.ruralactioncentres.ca.
For more information about Timber Koke’s Sawmill, contact Cody and Ashley Koke at 902-969-5079.
For more information about resources to start and maintain a small business, visit www.employmentjourney.com/resources-to-start-maintain-a-small-business/.