COVER STORY VERMONT WHOLESALE BUILDING PRODUCTS Chairman of the Boards Specialty lumber is his specialty by Will Lindner BR AD PET TENGILL T 2 here’s wooden architec-ture all over Vermont, and it has stood the test of time. These struc-tures, some of them grand and some quite humble, are iconic features upon Vermont’s revered rural landscape. “Wood lasts a long time,” observes Phil Payne, the owner and president of Vermont Wholesale Building Products BUSINESS PEOPLE–VERMONT • MAY 2017 Inc. in Williston. “You see barns made of eastern pine and hemlock still standing after a hundred years or more.” Today there are alternatives: low-maintenance synthetic siding and decking materials, and composites made from plastic and wood fibers. For Payne, these products don’t cut it. “I’m a lumber guy,” he says. “I look at those and I just enjoy the wood deck a lot more.” Besides, he contends, the sophisticated finishes, sealants, and col-orings available today vastly reduce the maintenance required with wood. Payne’s self-definition as “a lum-ber guy” is short of the mark, however. In 1996, Phil Payne cashed in his 401(k) and took out a loan to found his Williston specialty lumber company, Vermont Wholesale Building Products.