NEW added July 2014 a feature video about Hoffmeyer's Mill:


Feature 2014 Hoffmeyer's Mill PART 1

Feature 2014 Hoffmeyer's Mill PART 2

Feature 2014 Hoffmeyer's Mill PART 3

Feature 2014 Hoffmeyer's Mill PART 4


Links above open up a 20 minute feature filmed about our operation in a seperate window in Youtube.


Print Media:


Staff reporter

SEBRINGVILLE - With its roots in the 19th century and its heart in the 20th century, Hoffmeyer’s here has leaped into cyberspace to meet the 21st century.
In a 115-year-old planing mill where two father-son teams work side by side, where a mill cat named Rabbit greets customers, where the planing equipment looks older than the historic building, and where the smell of wood and sawdust smacks of a gentler era, who would expect the Internet to be mentioned let alone be relevant?
But there it is not really visible like the piles of wood, window frames and doors but more a part of the enthusiasm given off by Hoffmeyer’s owner, 55-year-old John Ogilvie, and his 29-year-old son Reg.
As expected, it was the younger Ogilvie who got dad hooked on cyberspace. “Reg set up a Web page for the business as a birthday present all of a sudden, Hoffmeyer’s joins the global village and at the same time remains a solid part of this village (Se-bringville),” said John, who also employs the father-son team of Carl and Steve Strasser. Carl has been with the mill for 23 years and his son Steve for 20 years.
Computer hound Reg proudly declares the mill has shipped “a door to Holland, a bench to England, doors to Orlando, Fla., and windows and screens to California” all because of Net sales. “We’ve even had an order for literally a boatload of wood for a Caribbean customer who obviously was confusing us with a lumber giant,” ex-plained John, who bought the business in 1974 not knowing “pine from spruce.”
John said if it hadn’t been for the patience of the previous owners, brothers Carl and Otto Stoskopf, he still wouldn’t know the difference. Otto stayed with John for about eight years until he learned the mill business. John also credits retired mill employee Stan Schellenberger with teaching him the ropes. “They treated me like a son,” said John.
It’s that kind of loyalty and old-fashioned paternalism that makes the Ogilvies’ leap into cyberspace more astonishing. But then John knows the times have changed and he sees the future of the mill in the hands of his computerliterate son. Reg has worked with his father for 12 years and before that on Saturdays.
At the same time the mill was getting on line, John and Reg decided the business could no longer compete in the “lumber business” against the major building material chains. So the Ogilvie's decided to cut out their own market niche using the tools and skills they know and do best.
“We don’t sell shingles, insulation and drywall anymore ... what we now do is specialty work like wood moldings, doors, cabinets and authentic reproductions,” explained Reg. “There’s a market out there on the Net and in Ontario that wants specialty woods and wood products .We are doing business in the States because of the exchange rate and lack’ of specialty mills in certain parts of the U.S.”
While leafing through letters of thanks from Net customers, John said there is such a need for special jobs that one customer requested a door like the one on Fryfogel Tavern. So he went out with his tape measure, made some sketches and produced the desired reproduction look. The Ogilvie's are also connecting with Stratford and area builders who have their own carpentry shops but lack some’ tools for special jobs. “That business is coming our way,” added John. The mill continues to cater to area wood hobbyists who require special grades of wood and special milling needs. But all the specialty skills and the Net have not erased the 19th century charm of. the building which is currently up for consideration for a historical designation. The Ogilvie's are more than happy to show curious customers or even Festival visitors around their mill with an introduction to mill cat Rabbit, who acquired his name because of the way he hopped as a kitten.
They proudly show visitors the original product -wooden water pumps that were originally made in the mill from 1874 to 1905. Henry Hoffmeyer changed the mill operations to a plaining mill when he opened the mill in 1906 as the demand for wood well pumps ceased. Henry turned the business over to his son Lorne in 1926. Lorne sold the business to his nephews Carl and Otto Stoskopf in 1949. The brothers owned the business until 1974 when John Ogilvie stepped in.
While John shows no signs of retiring, it’s clear that Reg is steering the business - at least in cyberspace. If you want to connect with them on the Web the address is
If you want to connect with the 19th century, you can’t miss them on a drive-by through Sebringville.

SEE US FEATURED IN OCT '02 Canadian Homes and Cottages Magazine!!



Stratford Beacon Herald 3/12/2005


A dovetail joint is a strong and smooth way to join two pieces of wood. It's the same qualities John Ogilvie and son Reg aimed for in the transition of their family-run business.

Ogilvie Planing Mill Ltd. -- better known as Hoffmeyer's -- officially changed hands Jan. 3, with Reg taking over from his father, who stays on as an hourly employee.

Succession planning -- or carrying on business from one generation to another -- is one of the toughest challenges faced by family-owned businesses.

According to international accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, only three in 10 survive one generation. The number falls to just one in 10 that make it to the next generation.

"This isn't a Prince Charles situation where I'm going to stay as the owner," said John, 60.

But neither is the business being handed to his son on a silver spoon.

The Ogilvies planned out the ownership change carefully, seeking the help of the business's longtime lawyer and accountant.

Reg and wife Ruth Ann become the principal shareholders, buying the shares from John and wife Sharon, who hold the mortgage as their retirement income.

Using their home equity for the business loan mimics what John and Sharon did when they bought the business in 1974, right down to the plan to have Reg and Ruth Ann buy their house behind the mill.

"The fella that's owned the house has always owned the mill," John said smiling.

The plan has a folksy quality. It fits right in at Hoffmeyer's.

The mill on Highway 8 in Sebringville is as close to a bona fide, working historical site as there is. Many of the machines are antiques, driven by belts connected to a mainline shaft that dates back to the 1870s.

The Ogilvies are proud of the century-old craftsmanship that goes into the custom wood doors, windows, mouldings, trim and flooring that are the business's main products.

"You know the cliche, 'They don't make it like they used to' -- well, we do," Reg said.

"When we make a door, we're making a door like it was made 90 years ago, 100 years ago ... it's one man on a bench and some wood," he said.

Nearly all of the fine millwork is done by Carl Strasser and son Steve. Carl started soon after John bought the mill and Steve came aboard a few years later.

Corey Mielke is the newest employee. Hoffmeyer's is putting its former high school co-op student through a carpenter apprenticeship at Fanshawe College in London.

Keeping the company's employees happy is a priority, Reg said.

John thinks the business is being left in good hands. Reg, although just turned 35, is in his 18th year with the business he joined straight out of high school.

"I'm proud of him because he's honest. If he says something you can bank on it. That might be sort of old-fashioned ... and he's not afraid to work," the father said about his son.

Reg said he most wants to emulate his dad's focus on customer service.

"You've got to listen to the customer and be thorough. Make sure that everything is good with them and follow up," he said.


Hoffmeyer's was established in 1906 by Henry Hoffmeyer. It was previously a wooden well-pump factory. His son Lorne took over in
1926 and ran the business
until 1945. He sold it to his nephews, Carl and Otto Stoskopf.

John passed a significant threshold last August. With 30 years at the helm of Hoffmeyer's, he had owned the business longer than any of the Hoffmeyer clan and the Stoskopfs.

"I was proud of that," he said.

But not all the times were as sweet.

In the early '90s, the business found itself at the brink. Back then, Hoffmeyer's still sold general building supplies and power tools but was finding it harder and harder to compete against large volume retailers.


John made the bold decision to specialize in custom wood millwork and supply top-quality finishing wood to contractors, do-it-yourselfers and hobbyists.

Going online in 1997, which was Reg's doing, helped the business carve out its market niche.

Today, Internet sales account for between 40 per cent and 50 per cent of the company's business.

"We get about 100 people a day viewing our website," Reg said.

The Web brought customers from across North America to Hoffmeyer's. A map on the office wall has coloured pins representing orders all through the United States. Farther afield, shipments have gone to England and Netherlands.

Reg said his plan is to grow the business, but in measured steps.

To begin with, he wants to increase Hoffmeyer's local exposure.

"A lot of people in Stratford don't know what we do here," he said.

"I don't want to become 10 stores with 50 people under me, but I'm going to try to expand it slowly over time."

photo by Brian Shypula
John Ogilvie and son Reg are framed by a fir door made at Ogilvie Planing Mill Ltd. -- better known as Hoffmeyer's. Reg took over Hoffmeyer's, which makes custom wood doors, windows, mouldings, trim and flooring at its century-old mill, from his father earlier this year.


Emerson Drive shot their hit country music video at our mill in March 2006. If you look closely you will see 4 of us in the video.


See us featured in the September 8th,2006 edition of the

Toronto Globe and Mail:



December 2008:


Click this link to view an interactive panoramic QUICKTIME view of our historic shop, taken by Roger Hein:

Stratford Beacon Herald


When Paul and Vanessa Eckert look back on their wedding day, they'll remember the picturesque outdoor setting. They'll remember the chirping of birds and the hum of the cicadas on a warm summer evening, family and friends looking on as they exchanged their vows under a lovely canopy of trees. And they'll remember the sweet smell of sawdust and wood shavings. The Dublin-area couple was married Saturday in a unique ceremony behind Hoffmeyer's Mill in Sebringville. It's not the first place that comes to mind when most people think of the ideal wedding spot, but for a couple that first met in a cabinet making course at Fanshawe College and share of love of woodcraft, it was a perfect dovetail fit. "When Paul proposed, that was the only place that I could think of that really meant anything to the both of us and would tie in our woodworking connection," said the bride-to-be before the ceremony Saturday. "It's a unique spot," he added. "And it's definitely not a traditional place for a wedding."

The couple are regular customers at the planing mill, which traces its history back to the 1870s and still has century-old equipment turning out things like custom wood mouldings, doors and windows. It's known as Hoffmeyer's, but the Ogilvie family has owned and operated it for some 37 years now. "We've had a lot of interesting things happen here over the years, but never a wedding," noted owner Reg Ogilvie, who along with his wife Ruth Ann, purchased the mill from his parents John and Sharon in 2005.

When the bride-to-be first approached him with what she suggested would be a unique request, he smiled to himself. "I thought, we've been here a while. We've heard them all. We made a cage for a monkey one time. We made a diving board for a swimming pool. What else could you throw at us?" he recalled. "And then she asked if they could get married here and I smiled and said, yeah, we haven't heard that one before." He immediately agreed. "It's kind of a compliment,"said Ogilvie. "The mill here is one-of-a-kind, and if people want to come here for that reason, it makes it all that much more worthwhile."

It was about five years ago that Canadian country western band Emerson Drive used Hoffmeyer's as the setting for one of their music videos, drawn by the mill's rustic old-world charm. And having a wedding at Huron Road landmark -- the ceremony was actually held on the grounds behind the mill, with the newlyweds posing for photos in and around the mill itself -- highlights the direct, personal approach Ogilvie likes to take with his business. "We like to think we'll go the extra mile for our customer," he said with a chuckle.

You may download a short TV commercial we produced here. It is 1.4 megs and will play on any mpeg viewer or windows media player. By the time you have looked over our site , it will be uploaded.

RIGHT CLICK the link "download here" below AND CHOOSE "save target as" to download (especially if you are on 56k or slower dial up modem connection using W95).

Or, if you are on high speed Cable /DSL or using Windows98 or higher ,just click the link directly and your Windows Media Player should open the following link: