Bill Esler Georgia Chopsticks llc, the Americus, GA start-up that made headlines for its export business to China, has been forced to close. At issue is a million dollar check that didn't clear, according to the complaint from Top Holding Management Company, an Overland Park, KS investor group with an office in Cochran, GA.
The little-business-that-could quickly won the hearts of many of us for their plucky idea: export a U.S. commodity finished into low cost goods that are competitive in China. For the wood industry the story carried some powerful subnotes - China has limited forests, and needs our wood. Rather than sell them logs, let's sell finished goods that are American Made. Poplar eating utensils from Americus' Georgia Chopsticks carried an added note of irony.
That story line repeats in the case of another U.S. exporter, Katahdin Log Homes, an 80-employee manufacturer of cedar and pine log homes that cut a deal with a China real estate developer. It built a million dollar sales center as the first step, then will build log home kits for buyers in the new community.
Georgia Chopsticks llc was closed in a dispute with an investor. Local authorties say the Americus, GA firm has shipped millions of chopsticks. Driving that buy, once again, was China's limited domestic lumber sources, according to David Gordon, Katahdin president.
“Because they have 1.2 billion people,” says Gordon, “there’s been extreme pressure put on their wood resources. So they’re looking to purchase a lot of their wood products elsewhere.”
I don't know how Georgia Chopsticks will turn out. The company execs tell local media it is a misunderstanding, and so far, it hasn't been determined if criminal or civil charges will be filed. We'll keep you posted