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Simpson Investment is undergoing a monumental remake due to the declining pulp-and-paper industry
Like the wiry pioneer who is the company's namesake, the Simpson Investment Co. of Seattle is responding to a tough business climate by reinventing itself.
When Sol G. Simpson lost his house in a Nevada mining town in 1878, he moved his family to Seattle and found work driving horses for the crews that were building the settlement's streets and railroads.
Simpson, a thin man with a big mustache, later moved to Mason County, where he prospered by using horses to build roads and haul logs. In 1890 he started his own company, the S.G. Simpson Co.
More than a century later, Sol Simpson's start-up has become Simpson Investment, a holding company that owns about 792,000 acres of domestic timberland and more than a dozen mills.
And the private company, like its founder 120 …