Our Story

Live Edge Detroit is a premier supplier of rough-sawn urban wood and finished products salvaged from trees that once grew in the Metro-Detroit neighborhoods we all live, work, and play in. We only work with felled urban lumber, which means we do not purchase trees or logs, and we don't remove trees ourselves. Our philosophy is to never seek out a living thing to build our own inventory. The logs that we mill are logs that would otherwise go to "waste"; they previously would have been turned into firewood or mulch, or ended up in a landfill.

Our responsibly-sourced logs are milled on-site at our warehouse in Troy, Michigan. From there, the wood goes through a 1-3 year air drying and dehumidification kiln drying process on site. When the slabs are dry and ready for their next life, we make them available to the public for purchase at our warehouse in the form of slabs, rounds, beams, burls, and more. We also offer a curated collection of finished goods made from our locally-salvaged wood supply. In doing so, we hope to preserve these beautiful pieces of urban wood so that they can be transformed and enjoyed by others for many years to come.

Our Team

Emily Puffer-Barger

Director of Sales & Marketing

Originally from Indiana, Emily studied human biology and business management at Indiana University Bloomington. She spent the first decade of her career in medical device sales, selling everything from baby helmets to breast implants (true story!). Her job took her from Indiana to Chicago to Los Angeles, where she met her partner, Joe, in 2017.

 

When the time came to open Live Edge Detroit back up after a brief hiatus in 2020, Emily and Joe knew that it was the perfect time to return home to the midwest, their families, and to this special warehouse. 

Emily left her corporate career in late 2020 and now oversees sales and marketing for Live Edge Detroit, as well as handles day-to-day operations. She also moonlights in the back shop and enjoys partnering with customers to turn their design visions into a reality.

In her spare time, Emily enjoys live music, baking, interior design, and hanging out with her and Joe's boxer, Lola. 

James Meek

Sales Manager

Lead Maker & Sawyer

James Meek spent his first 15 years after undergrad working for the public school system as an athletic trainer and assistant athletic director. His appreciation for nature and trees began at an early age while traveling to national parks with his family. Woodworking has been a passion and creative outlet for James since 2001.

James says, “Making the transition from the public to the private sector was definitely a big step for me. Ultimately, it was Live Edge Detroit’s vision of salvaging lumber that would have been waste and giving it new life that enticed me. It aligns perfectly with my creative philosophy.” James considers himself a lifelong novice woodworker, as he says there are always new things to learn and perfect.

James lives in Berkley with his wife Brenda and dog Mae. He is a live music fan and he is known for always having some music playing whether at home or in the workshop.

mike Barger

Co-Founder

Certified Arborist & Urban Forester

Past President & Founder, Mike's Tree Surgeons

Past President, ReLeaf Michigan

live edge wood slabs for sale, detroit, michigan

Mike Barger grew up in Royal Oak, Michigan and graduated from Michigan Tech University with a degree in Urban Forestry. After college, he worked for the City of Southfield before starting his own tree care company (Mike's Tree Surgeons) in 1984. Mike and his wife, Denise, have two kids, Jenny & Joe, who have both followed in his entrepreneurial footsteps.

Mike has always had a keen interest in environmental conservation and sustainability. A few years ago he acted on a dream he's always had for the business: salvaging high quality logs and milling them into new usable material for makers, designers, and builders. In 2015, Mike and his kids decided to put some power behind marketing the dry wood and Live Edge Detroit was born.

When Mike is not working, you can likely find him in the woods hunting, fishing or napping in nature. 

joe Barger

Co-Founder

Director of Finance and Business Development

Joe, Mike's son, was raised with a love and passion for trees in any and all forms. He grew up in Troy, MI and studied forestry and business with a specialization in entrepreneurship at Michigan State University. After college, Joe's career took him into the business world where he gained extensive experience in finance, logistics, and operational efficiency. 

With his knowledge of the urban wood industry on the west coast, Joe helped his family develop a business plan for launching Live Edge Detroit in 2015. Joe and his partner, Emily, returned to Michigan in 2020 to oversee Live Edge Detroit after nearly a decade of living in California.

In his free time, Joe enjoys traveling, spending time with Lola the boxer, and being outside as much as possible.

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