Family Owned & Operated Since 1969
With over 50 years of combined experience, Jeff and Heidi Woodmansee purchased Northern Block Cortland in 2019. Northern Block, previously Nichol Block Corp, was the family business that Heidi’s family started. Her grandparents, Charles and Mattie Nichol, started the company in Ithaca, NY. They began trucking cinder blocks in from Pennsylvania to sell in their retail space on Elmira Rd, and in 1969, they purchased the block manufacturing business located in Cortland, NY. There, they worked as a family, alongside their four sons: Charles Jr, John, Art, and Kirby.
Heidi worked for Nichol Block summers and school holidays as she grew up, as did her brother, David. They learned the business and products and gained an understanding of the customers’ needs, ranging from the “old-timer” masons to the homeowners that needed guidance. Growing up with the family business, Heidi intended to spend her entire career with the company.
In 2001, the Nichol family sold the business. Jeff joined the company shortly after that, serving the organization throughout two ownership transitions. Jeff’s career with the company started in the cubing room, learning about the blocks and all of the shapes and uses for each. He later learned to operate the manufacturing machine and eventually became the general manager of the Cortland location under the previous ownership. Jeff maintains a reputation for being “a man of his word” and for “doing what needs to be done.” Jeff credits the mutually rewarding relationships he has established with vendors and customers as instrumental in the company’s success.
Through an unexpected and greatly welcomed turn of events, the option to repurchase the company came to the Woodmansee family in 2019. With the help of family and friends, Heidi’s dream to carry on both her career and the family legacy with the company became a reality. Jeff and Heidi work well and balance each other in the daily business and decisions.
Now employing up to 9 team members, this business has once again turned into a family. Their oldest son, Alex, graduated from Newark Valley High School in 2018 and is now the Sales Manager in the front office, building upon and sharing experience and knowledge gained as a seasonal worker under former ownership. Alex brings a personable sales experience to help any person achieve their goals and is learning the office skills required to take over full office responsibilities in the future.
Joey, their youngest son, graduated from Newark Valley High School in 2021. Joey worked for the business through summers and the spring of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the school went fully remote. Joey’s goals are to learn the manufacturing aspect of the business and the General Manager duties that Jeff does daily.
Our Plant Foreman is Gary Lawton. Friend and employee for many years, he has worked at the block plant for 18 years.
Cory Slater is our full-time truck driver. Having worked under the previous ownership, he thankfully remained a part of the team when Northern Block Cortland started in 2019.
We also have a per-diem driver: Robert Garrison, our tractor-trailer driver, hauling large loads to commercial job sites.
We would also like to keep in memory our driver, Robert Thomas, who was locally well-known and appreciated for his wit and humor.
Goals for the future are continually updated and considered for the better growth of the business. Currently on the horizon are plans to expand the retail division by offering a more comprehensive selection of concrete masonry units and other products to meet the needs of our customers.