RIDGEVILLE, South Carolina — Ashley River Lumber Company has gone through a number of permutations over the years. Now the company has shifted away from operating as a production-oriented hardwood sawmill and focused on manufacturing specialty lumber products, a change in strategy that also is putting more emphasis on lumber drying. The company recently began operating a new dry kiln supplied by Kiln-Direct in order to increase drying capacity. Ashley River Lumber is located in Ridgeville, S.C., which is about 35 miles northwest of Charleston. The company has good access to I-95, which is only about 20 miles further northwest. Andrew Branton, 37, is vice president of the company and the third generation helping lead the family business. His father, Joe, is the majority owner and still works full-time in the business but is phasing out his role as he approaches retirement. Ashley River Lumber is located in the same place where Andrew’s grandfather started the sawmill in 1962. It is a collection of 12 buildings, including open air-drying sheds, with about 100,000 square feet under roof. The company has 11 employees, including a small logging crew. In recent years Ashley River Lumb...