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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

I guess everybody at one time or another fantasizes about owning a beautiful log home in the mountains. I have two neighbors and friends who are right in the middle of such a project. I personally haven't been too tempted until a recent visit to Round Top Incorporated in Vernal, Utah.

Max Haslam has been in business in the Uintah Basin for many years. He purchased a greenhouse and nursery business in 1979, which has evolved into Basin Nursery and Garden Center. The business was very seasonal so Max needed something more to keep him busy in the off-season. He gradually moved into the lumber and logging business.

As Max and I drove through his lumberyard, he commented that his sons Bart and Jeff add greatly to the overall success of the business. The view of piles and piles of logs in every size and dimension impressed me. I watched employees sorting, stacking and preparing the logs for finishing and preparation to be utilized in a variety of ways.

Round Top Inc., produces house logs that they sell to homebuilders and contractors. They manufacture log railings, staircases, fencing and log furniture. I saw beds, chests of drawers, cabinets and other beautifully crafted furniture items that would be spectacular in the proper setting. And of course, the perfect setting would be a log home built with Round Top prepared logs. I marveled at how intricate the logs are cut and prepared so they fit together kind of like a well-conceived and manufactured jigsaw puzzle. You can see many homes in Park City, Aspen and other ski resort cities that have originated in Vernal.

I asked Max about the name of his company. He explained that he has a ranch in Colorado and that the name of a mountain near by is "Round Top" so he named his company after that area. (Incidentally, besides the greenhouse/nursery and the lumber/log business, Max also runs a herd of beef cattle.)

I was curious about how he marketed his products. Max said that Teton Lumber in Montana and Wyoming is a very big customer and they buy all the rail fencing that Red top can produce. He also utilizes the Internet and national trade magazines to attract customers.

Oh, and as if all of his enterprises don't keep him busy enough, Max Haslem also does big business with wood, wood pellet and gas stoves of all kinds.

This is Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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