Dr. Ed Maley, a retired orthopedic surgeon, has owned Lititz Planing Mill Co. for almost four decades.
Ed Maley, M.D., started making furniture out of necessity.
“When I was in medical school and residency, we didn’t have a lot of money,” he said. “So I started making some simple but necessary furniture.”
Dr. Maley maintained his appreciation for fine craftsmanship throughout his successful 40-year career with Orthopedic Associates of Lancaster. Since retiring in 2012, he has more time to devote to Lititz Planing Mill Co., the custom millwork business he has owned for nearly four decades.
Dr. Maley got his first hands-on experience while growing up in Lancaster’s Cabbage Hill neighborhood and working alongside his plumber father. He began his orthopedic career in 1974, specializing in hands, upper extremities, total joint replacements and fracture repairs.
Dr. Maley continued making furniture in his free time. Around 1979, he bought Lititz Planing Mill (then Keath Planing Mill), which was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In addition to custom architectural millwork, the business, which was founded in 1912, also built many homes in Lititz.
“I was naïve about running a business, but it was a good company and I love woodwork, so it seemed like a good fit,” he said.
Bolstered by the expertise and support of the mill’s long-time employees – and his own appreciation for quality woodwork and a low-key, common sense approach to running a business -- Dr. Maley worked to turn the mill around.
“I’m very fortunate to have good people to run the business,” he said. “The most important thing is not to micromanage.”
Lititz Planing Mill now works mostly with customers on the Main Line who are referred through word-of-mouth. Projects include high-end homes for business leaders, politicians and celebrities, as well as historic buildings, schools, businesses and churches.
Over the years, Dr. Maley often took advantage of access to the “ultimate workshop” at the mill to make furniture for the home he shares with his wife Barbara, and later their children and grandchildren.
“I still enjoy making furniture,” he said. “It’s comforting to me. The problem is, now my house is full.”
Dr. Maley retired at age 70, just before OAL implemented Epic, he notes with a smile. Since his retirement, he has taken several medical missions trips to Africa, El Salvador and the Philippines. He also enjoys playing golf.
“I greatly enjoyed orthopedics and working with the OAL physicians and staff,” he said. “I miss it tremendously. I miss doing surgery, the people, the office and the camaraderie. But it was time.”
Though Dr. Maley leaves the day-to-day management of the business in the capable hands of his staff, he visits the mill regularly, offering his help or suggestions as needed.
“Retirement can be difficult for physicians, and I feel very fortunate to have this in my life now,” he said. “The mill is a neat place.”