Timber Truss Housing Systems started in a carport more than 50 years ago, and grew into a business with two Virginia plants and a worldwide reach. This week, the housing downturn that began six years ago finally claimed the company and 51 jobs.
"Every year we kept saying it was going to get better," said Timber Truss President Gary Saunders, "and then with the election it was going to get better. You know nothing has helped it," he told us.
Saunders spent 38 years with the company. He saw many successes as Timber Truss manufactured and marketed a variety of products for housing contractors, from floor and roof trusses to packaged homes and plans.
WDBJ7 profiled the company in December 1990, when Timber Truss was shipping 100 duplexes to Israel.
As the company prepared to close, Saunders said he was feeling a mixture of emotions.
"We've grown as a company and as people, and we've ended up impacting the world," he told WDBJ7 in an interview. "We've shipped all over the world and all over the state of Virginia and we're just very happy and very sad. Happy that we could have done those things, but very sad that now we cannot."
Timber Truss founder Al James offered a similar assessment Friday. He expressed his gratitude to contractors who have been loyal customers, local banks that stood by the company until the very end and employees he described as "great people with great skills" who he hopes will find other work very soon.