For many furniture companies, success is measured by the number of pieces sold or net profit.

While those things are important at Urbn Timber, the fast-growing South Side business has another, higher goal.

"For us, it's about this: How many trees can we save," said Treg Sherman, one of three partners in the business.

Founded in 2016 by Sherman, Tyler Hillyard and Tyler Sirak, Urbn Timber collaborates with Columbus arborists Jacob Sauer Tree Care, Joseph Tree Service and Russell Tree Experts to salvage trees that have been removed because of storm damage, to make way for new construction or are hazardous because of disease or death. Urbn Timber then transforms the wood into "live edge" slabs.

Video: From tree to furniture at Urbn Timber

"It's almost like a granite shop," Hillyard said.

"You pick your slab, take it home, or we can custom-build (tables) for you," Sherman said.

The idea for the business originated with Hillyard, who as the son of a homebuilder spent the summers and weekends of his boyhood working on projects with his father and brother.

"I saw the value of wood," Hillyard said. "When I was 16 or 17, I knew I wanted my own mill."

Hillyard continued his love of wood at Rio Grande University, where he studied antique reproduction. It was at Rio Grande that "I learned how wood works, how to create pieces that last generations, " he said.

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After college, he began working at Woodcraft Columbus, which he later managed, and purchased a portable sawmill — a Woodmizer Lt15 — and began milling his own lumber.

In 2015, Hillyard met Sherman and they became friends. Then they met Sirak, who was feeling unfulfilled in his corporate finance job, and the three men began discussing ways to pursue their shared passion.

The trio launched the business in early 2016, "(but) we didn't have a bank account until March," Sirak added, laughing.

Urbn Timber, at 29 Kingston Ave., has been working hard since then, acquiring a one-third-acre log yard across High Street from the shop, and producing pieces as quickly — or, rather, slowly — as possible.

"If a piece is in the showroom, it's about 2 years old, because the wood sits in the lumber yard for 12 to 18 months to air-dry, then it takes 3 months to kiln-dry," Hillyard said.

The process is important in making each piece heirloom quality, Hillyard said, "because even though a sawmill can make a flat board, it's not going to last" because of high moisture content. "We want each piece to look the same in 10 years as it looks today."

The company's work is part of a growing trend, not only for furniture but also with buildings, said Deb Miller, principal owner of local retail consulting firm Boulevard Strategies.

"The technique used by Urbn Timber is handcrafted, live-edge furniture," Miller said. "This style has gained favor because it is using a natural material, in many cases recycled, and most importantly the antithesis of mass-made right angled smooth edges/surfaces furniture."

The style is particularly popular among younger customers, who "really seem to like to use reclaimed materials to add character to their homes," she said.

"Gen X'ers and Millennials have a strong dislike of mass produced cookie-cutter 'anything' and desire to purchase furniture pieces that make a signature statement, and that will last for years," she said

Despite the painstaking work, Urbn Timber has grown rapidly and recently expanded to a new 10,000-square-foot wood shop on the South Side — up from about 2,400 square feet previously. The old shop is now the company's metal shop, which is used to fabricate steel designs made in house.

"It's a lot easier doing custom projects when you control all the variables," Sirak said.

The pieces that the company creates — whether complete tables or slabs of wood — typically feature a "live edge" look, which refers to the natural edge of the wood under the bark after it is cut.

"That is one of the top trends of 2018," Sherman said. "But we're not attached to live edge. It's a trend that we happen to be part of."

Urbn Timber has created tables and counter tops for restaurants and homes in New York, Texas, Colorado, "and we've done projects for people who live down the street from where I grew up in Dublin," Sirak said.

As their work is unique and time-consuming, they charge prices in line with other custom manufacturers — so Urbn Timber sells a dining room table for about $2,000.

But the cash isn't what drives the company.

"Every year, billions of board feet of wood is wasted," Sirak said. "You become passionate about a product when you're working with it so long. We want to save trees from the city."