“Top-notch service is what we need, and we get that from Roland and Komatsu.”
For 40 years, the Cain family has called
the sprawling woods of Michigan’s Upper
Peninsula home. Mark Cain and his brother
started logging in Menominee when they
finished high school. In 1979, the brothers took a
huge gamble on a tip that there was a need for a
skidder in Big Bay, and it paid off.
“We were speaking to a dealer we knew,
and he told us that a company was looking
for someone to do skidding,” recalled Mark.
“So, on just this little piece of information, my
brother and I bought a dozer and headed north.
In retrospect, it wasn’t the most calculated
decision we’d ever made. This was the late 70s,
and interest rates were sky-high. We paid $600
a month, and I think 90 percent of our payment
was interest – but somehow, we were able to
Fortunately for the brothers, their risk was
rewarded. Cain Brothers Logging Inc. enjoyed
35 years of success and growth in Big Bay
before the brothers took different paths and
Mark headed a bit south to Negaunee.
Although Mark purchased his brother’s share
of the company, the ‘Brothers’ in Cain Brothers
Logging is still accurate because Mark’s sons,
Josh and Chris, are now in the fold, as are their
wives, who both work in the office.
Today, Cain Brothers handles harvesting
and skidding jobs, typically on plots of the
600,000 acres of land that Weyerhaeuser owns
in the Huron Mountains. Cain Brothers has
roughly a dozen employees and works in terrain
where most other companies won’t operate
and still produces sizable hauls, up to 150 cords
“I think when you ask people about us, the
first thing they say is, ‘holy cow, they cut in some
awful ground,’” noted Mark. “Our area is very
rough and rocky, but we like it that way. We’ve
found our niche, and it’s worked out for us.”
In addition to logging, Cain Brothers also
builds logging roads to their job locations on the
Weyerhaeuser land – performing bridge and
culvert installations, as well as land clearing.
When Cain Brothers is working in a harsh
environment, it turns to Komatsu and Roland
Machinery Company Sales Rep Matt Orr
to help tackle tough jobs. Cain’s Komatsu
855.1 forwarder has met any challenge the
company has thrown at it.
“We purchased the 855 nearly three years ago,
and it’s been amazing,” reported Mark. “It’s a
very comfortable machine to operate, and the
eight-wheel system is perfect for the terrain where
we work. Our operators also love that the grapple
is so responsive. It’s a terrific overall machine.”
To access tough locations, Cain Brothers turns
to its Komatsu D51PX dozer and WA250 wheel
loader to build and maintain logging roads.
“The D51 handles great and is perfect for clearing
paths in the woods,” said Mark. “It’s a tank. We use
the WA250 for plowing and other tasks when we’re
building roads. They are both reliable and versatile,
which is important for us.”
The logging company also uses two Rolly
processing heads from Roland for its harvesters.
While great equipment is important to Mark and
his crews, he says that Roland’s service beyond the
sale has been invaluable.
“We switched to Komatsu and Roland
about three years ago, and we’ve been highly
impressed,” shared Mark. “Top-notch service
is what we need, and we get that from Roland
“Everyone at Roland goes above and beyond
to keep us up and running,” he added. “Matt is
always there if we need him. Forestry Specialist
Bert Johnson is also a huge asset. He’ll help us
troubleshoot over the phone, which is important
for us because if we need a service truck to come
to the site, we’d be down all day. You don’t find
many distributors willing to do that anymore, but
Cain Brothers, part two
With the second set of Cain brothers primed to
take the business into its second generation, Mark
is excited about the future. The company has its
40th anniversary in June, and Mark is confident
that Josh and Chris can continue to celebrate
longevity milestones going forward.
“To succeed in this business, you have to be able
to adapt – and we’ve done that well through the
years,” said Mark. “Both Josh and Chris have the
attitude and work ethic to succeed.”
One of the goals that Josh and Chris share is to
grow Cain Brothers Logging.
“There is an opportunity to expand, the work
is out there,” said Josh. “Our biggest challenge
is finding the right people. This isn’t an easy job.
It’s cold and dirty, and we work long hours – it
isn’t for everyone. We’re always on the lookout
for people who really love this kind of work. The
more of that type of person we can hire, the more
we can grow.”