We recently visited Tom Dean, owner of The Dean Company located in Holly Ridge at Camp Davis Industrial Park.
The Dean Company manufactures moldings, rails and floorings for the boat building industry and custom home builders from Teak, Genuine Mahogany, Philippine Mahogany, White Oak, Brazilian Cherry, Walnut, American Cherry, Maple, and other exotic and domestic woods.
We have often shared our love of Tom’s Coastal Carolina Cutting Boards and were surprised to learn that accounts for just 20% of his business. The other 80% of the business provides high end manufactured wood components to boat builders such as Michael Rybovich & Sons Custom Boatworks, Viking Yachts, Hatteras Yachts, Bayliss Boatworks, Chris-Craft, Blackwell Boats, as well as providing moldings and decking to the custom home builders around the country.
Tom’s grandfather bought The Spicker veneer company in the early 1900’s, and later changed the name to The Dean Company, which provided the veneer panels for beautifully appointed pullman railroad cars. Customers included Barnum & Bailey and Ringling Brothers Circuses, among others. Tom’s father bought the lumber business in 1968, struggled in the 2008 economy, and eventually went out of business in 2012. With the help of great friends and suppliers, Tom was able to purchase the assets back from the bank later that year and started to rebuild his family’s legacy.
Tom had been working for his father for about 10 years, when he went out on his own in 2004, eventually landing at Camp Davis Industrial Park. Tom’s son, Townsend is now the 5th generation in the Dean family business.
This business has a great history! The Dean family provided the flooring for every Armani Exchange built in the 90’s and provided decking for Carnival Cruise Lines. The company also donated 25K square feet of Brazilian Cherrywood for the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington.
We love sharing this interesting story with an historic twist: in the 90’s the Minister of Forestry from Burma traveled to consult with Chuck and Tom Dean in Wilmington and helped provide the teak decking for the USS North Carolina’s refurbishing project. Burma’s generous teak donation was a show of gratitude to the US for sending the USS North Carolina to patrol the waters off Burma during WWII. In total, the new deck covered approximately 40,000 SF, which required about 11 tractor trailer loads of teak.