The wonders of Woodland Home Marketplace
“Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any…wood??”
Well, as of 2019, an Eaton, Colo., former sheep farm sure did. Technically abandoned for the previous seven years, the 146-acre property that had previously housed up to 35,000 sheep for 50 years, sold to Ryan Woodland. His wife Sarah, who is a realtor, had learned of the deserted place through a phone inquiry from the land’s owner.
Whatever had been the scenario all the prior years, the man had been unable to sell for his asking price. So he simply — and instantly — had let all his employees and sheep go; and then he left. Everything on the premises remained in a virtual state of suspended animation until 34-year-old Woodland assumed ownership. After tackling all necessary repairs, he eagerly looked forward to using the past to build a present and future..
BACK IN THE DAY
Great-grandfather Virgil Woodland settled in Greeley, Colo., back in 1874. An entrepreneur extraordinaire, Virgil provided the first “wagonwheel taxi,” as his great-grandson Ryan described it, from Greeley to Loveland, Colo. It was a big hit. Perhaps the Uber of its day?
Passengers were invited to climb aboard one of two days available per week at 10:30 a.m. and to disembark a mere six-hours later at 4:30 p.m. Remember that 1870s’ Greeley residents shopped for groceries only twice a year, as Woodland reported. In that long-ago era, there were no supermarkets nor convenience stores; no Interstate; no Internet; and no pavement. Using the horse-drawn taxi service, passengers could handily also shop at Virgil’s thriving Loveland marketplace. Another big hit.
ANCHORS AWEIGH AND BACK TO PORT
Subsequent generations of Woodlands left Colorado, relocating to do their patriotic duty (especially during the two World Wars) in the Navy. Ryan Woodland was raised in Southern California but he eventually decided to discover more about his family’s roots by returning to the northern Colorado area (but not by wagonwheel taxi).
Once he’d cleaned up the old sheep farm, including various outbuildings on the property, he set about stocking it with the product he’d always felt his surname ordained: wood. With flock of 35,000 woolies nowhere in sight, sheep land was transformed to wood land…Woodland Home Marketplace.
And, because Woodland has a passion for history and all things vintage/antique, the wood he markets had to be at least 80-years-old; much of it more than a century old. He sources his lumber from most areas but especially New York, Iowa and Pennsylvania (where old barns are prolific and often dismantled rather than restored).
After his brokers locate a load, it is shipped to Eaton for rehab. Some is sold relatively unprocessed, while Woodland repurposes other pieces into furniture and similarly useful items.
As with any reclaimed wood, nails, screws and more imperfections that might damage saws and other equipment must first be removed. Sanding in sometimes required, although many people enjoy the rough, rugged look and texture.
Woodland said that he carries most kinds, but Douglas fir and white oak are most ubiquitous in his huge inventory. All board sizes are generally available.
“The reclaimed market is really strong right now,” Woodland said.
So much so that he employs four full-time associates to help create unique barn doors, mantles, accent walls and more.
Woodland described his business as having “the largest inventory of reclaimed wood products in Northern Colorado.” He currently acquires 10,000 board foot per month. For the past two months, he’s averaged $40,000-$50,000 in sales.
In a very interesting coupling, Woodland Home Marketplace also displays a well-stocked building full of vintage merchandise. Items “50 years or older, fun and cool,” said Woodland, usually take up temporary residence there. Everything from farm or ranch antiques to well-loved cowboy boots to vintage kitchen ephemera sits on wooden shelving awaiting just the right buyer to, with eye-popping excitement, snap it up.
Because of his ancestral history with the military, Woodland happily donates 10 percent of Marketplace sale revenues to “The Lone Survivor,” a veterans organization.
This past Sept, 11, he donated that same percentage to the Windsor/Severance Fire Department in memory of first responders who died or were injured in the 911 tragedies. Customers that day who attended the family friendly event, called a “Patriotic Sip and Shop,” enjoyed free beverages and the opportunity to browse for lovely wood products, all while benefiting that good cause.
Their generous patronage resulted in one-day proceeds of $7,000. Of that, Woodland Home Marketplace donated $700 to the fire department.
Ryan Woodland, his wife, and their 3½-year-old son, Weston, have picked up where their northern Colorado forbearers left off. With woods from the rural past, they hope to build a secure, solid future for generations yet to come.
Located at 11586 County Road 80 in Eaton, Colo., Woodland Home Marketplace is open to the public from 9-5, Monday-Saturday. You can also get an online preview of products at http://www.woodlandhomemarketplace.com .
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