The ending of WWII sparked a vigorous rebuilding of America. The building industry came to life in a new way and the Morrison family lumber business took off. Young military pilot Gayle Morrison came home from the war ready to continue the family business and begin his new life.
In 1948, Gayle and two partners put their knowledge and experience to work and formed Sunset Moulding Company. They decided on an area called Sunset Landing, which at the time, was a rail stop in Northern California. The location was convenient and the setting at the foot of the Sutter Buttes was beautiful.
From the very beginning of the business there was a great demand for wood moulding. The company enjoyed substantial growth through the 70s. In 1974 Gayle decided to buy out the two partners and begin Sunset Moulding Company as a family owned business producing solid and finger jointed wood mouldings.
Gayle and his wife, Mitzi, proved to be a very good team. Mitzi oversaw the day-to-day administrative responsibilities, while Gayle supervised plant operations, purchasing and sales. The team was successful and growth continued to be robust. In 1979, Sunset Moulding purchased three new plants in California; each plant provided a production increase in specialized areas.
Need for Growth
Along with the original site, a Cottonwood division was opened to manufacture solid pine lineal moulding. A facility in Susanville was acquired to produce cut stock. The original Rocklin plant was split into two manufacturing plants, one for solid oak lineal moulding and the other for finger jointed wood mouldings.
As the demand for wood moulding continued, the need for a larger plant became imminent. To meet this need, the Rocklin operation was relocated to a new site in Chico, CA in 1993. The new facility was perfect for the future of the company.
A significant addition to the company was made in 1998 with the purchase of the assets of Custom Forest products, a manufacturer of MDF moulding products. This purchase enabled Sunset to better prepare for the future of moulding by becoming a manufacturer of MDF products.
After the equipment was installed at the Live Oak facility, the company began producing Suntrim, a high-quality primed MDF moulding. Once again, Sunset found itself in the position of needing to produce more product to meet demand. To satisfy this need, in 2001 the entire Live Oak plant was converted to solely produce the very popular Suntrim product line.
The latest growth acquisition occurred in 2003 when Sunset purchased its first out-of-state facility located in Idabel, Oklahoma. The Idabel plant allows the Suntrim product to be more easily distributed in the Mid-West and the Eastern United States.
A New Generation
While Sunset Moulding grew, so did the family. Gayle and Mitzis three children began to make their mark by learning the operations from start to finish. Their sons, Ric and John, literally grew up in the company; as young men they worked in the plant stacking lumber and running various machines. Both men joined the company full time after graduating from college, Ric in 1969 and John in 1980. Both have experienced all phases of the operations for the company. Gayle and Mitzis daughter, Linda Morrison, joined the company full time in 1986 after moving back to the Yuba City area.
Gayle retired from active leadership in 1991, and turned the presidency over to Ken Olson, a trusted friend and longtime employee. In 1997, Ken retired as president and the Board of Directors named John as president. Today the executive team consists of John Morrison, President; Ric Morrison, Vice President of Production; Mark Westlake, Vice President of Sales; Mo Steele, Vice President of Purchasing; and Wendy Forren, Chief Financial Officer.
Gayle Morrison saw the need in the building industry for finished wood products and had the vision and fortitude to pursue the goal of filling that need. That same vision and fortitude is continued today as the next generation of Morrisons strive to meet the changing demands of the millwork industry.
The current owners share the same vision as the founders: