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A college education with no loans
Ryan and Nate Nicols, owners of R & N Firewood, use a processor to cut and split firewood.
MEXICO -- For one of the owners of R&N Firewood, the goal is to complete college debt-free. That’s why Nate Nicols works so hard from March to November in his firewood business.
Nate’s business partner is his cousin, Ryan Nicols.
Together, the young men cut, split and deliver firewood for $165 per cord. The firewood is a mixture of mostly beech with some ash.
Both make excellent fires.
According to Ryan, the business “keeps us busy and out of trouble. It’s also taught us life lessons like working hard for what you want.”
Nate graduated from Mountain Valley High School in June and will attend Central Maine Community College for precision machining.
Ryan is starting his senior year at Mountain Valley High School.
The business began four years ago. At that time, the cousins used saws and splitters to prepare the wood. For the last two years, they have operated a processor and a conveyer. The processor cuts the wood to length and splits the bigger pieces. The conveyer comes off the processor and moves the wood automatically into the waiting truck.
Nate explained, “We work from early in the morning and often have long days. This year we started in March and will probably be done before opening day of deer season. Our customers like to have their wood in by November so that works well for hunting.”
“Our fathers get the wood for us through their logging business,” said Ryan. “Then it’s up to us to cut, split and deliver it.”
Nate’s dad is Billy Nicols and Ryan’s dad is Jimmy Nicols. Their fathers own Nicols Brothers Logging and were recently named Rumford Citizens of the Year.
Nate added, “Without our Dads, our business wouldn’t happen. We use some of their equipment and we’re working off the cost of the processor and conveyor. In addition to running the firewood business, they have us do manual labor jobs like haying.”
Last year, the company produced about 250 cords. So far this year, they have turned out 150 cords.
“We have a little backlog with some of our customers and we would love new customers,” Ryan said. “I’m pretty sure we’ll do about what we did last year.”
The entrepreneurs demonstrate a work ethic that is uncommon for young adults.
R & N Firewood can be reached at 364-8685.