Thursday, July 10, 2014

Frederick Faces: Neil Gager

Originally from South Africa, Neil Gager, owner of Exotic Lumber Inc. (329 E. 2nd Street), now takes pride in calling Downtown Frederick his home. Neil began his working career in the marketing department of a large plastics company in South Africa. Throughout his experience in the corporate environment with all of the “rules, politics, and meetings,” Neil dreamt of owning his own small company. Twelve years ago, Neil moved to the US with his wife and two young daughters to pursue this dream. 

Exotic Lumber Inc. imports and stocks over 100 species of exotic and domestic lumber to be used in various projects or sold to woodworking companies. Neil genuinely enjoys the nature of his business and the product he handles, stating “It is a very exciting and rewarding business – selling an organic, raw material that is eventually transformed into beautiful furniture or objects.” In addition to taking pleasure in providing his customers with high quality, unique wood, Neil loves the connections he makes through his business. In fact, he claims that the most interesting aspect of his business is “the incredible cross-section of customers that we deal with on a daily basis,” adding “without our customers we are nothing.” 

Neil first opened shop in Gaithersburg, MD, but fell in love with Frederick while searching for a warehouse location. “We discovered unique, interesting, creative, and friendly people, who welcomed and supported the idea of a lumberyard in their midst,” he says. “And the networking here is invaluable.”

Though running his own business and caring for his family are the priorities in Neil’s life, he still finds time to run and play golf. He is a member of the Frederick Steeplechasers’ Running Club, as well as participates in the Frederick Half Marathon and the Rescue Mission 1o Miler. 

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