Marketing at Bluffton Quarry

by Diana Barnum
Bluffton Stone Company quarry offers some of best stone products found in the state of Ohio. Builders and landscapers seek their stone products for its exceptional hardness, abrasion and color characteristics.

Left, Doug Nichols, asphalt plant operator. Right, Boomer Bonifas, scales clerk and in charge of special projects like shingle recycling and flagstone sales. Just behind the men is the silo. Behind that is a huge pile of asphalt shingling debris awaiting recycling.

Noted for its use in quality and decorative construction projects, Bluffton Stone officials seize the day – and increasing market share - with creative marketing.
“They’re business friendly – very entrepreneurial,” said Ryan Senter, sales representative for Mellott Enterprises, Inc. in Columbus, OH. “They look for all kinds of ways to service markets, like grinding up shingles and blending them back in with asphalt. Only three or four companies do that, that I know of.”
Senter is referring to Bluffton’s shingle recycling operations. A Cat 966 medium-sized wheel loader places shingle debris on a conveyor that takes it to a grinding station. After recycling, the materials are stored in a holding silo to await loading and transport. Although Bluffton’s asphalt grinding station is old, parts and conveyors are serviced with the help of Columbus Equipment Company and the Central Ohio Conveyor Company.

Dave Roby, head maintenance. He's standing over the pit where the Austin Western Jaw Crusher, Universal horizontal impact crusher and VSI crusher are - below & behind him.

Boomer Bonifas, the scales clerk in charge of special marketing projects like the shingle recycling, coordinates pick ups, drop offs and operations. He also focuses on equipment maintenance and site safety.
Bonifas sets aside one day each week for maintenance throughout the facilities. And he implements safe practices from regularly scheduled training classes. For instance, safety barriers are constructed along all edges. And the quarry grounds are kept exceptionally clean. No excess equipment and debris lying around translates into less risk of mishap or obstruction of the view.
Also everyone keeps conscious of others in the work area. Well-established work procedures mean less risk of running into someone and causing injury, he notes.
Another special marketing project that Bonifas coordinates is their flagstone sales. Bluffton’s handpicked flagstone is ideal for decorative landscaping.
“We’re one of the last quarries to do this,” said Boomer Bonifas. “It’s too much labor. It costs $72 a ton.”
Bluffton’s breaks up the flagstone with dynamite, contracted out to the Austin Powder Company in Cleveland, Ohio. Austin’s philosophy is, “Measure twice, cut once,” in strict adherence to safety practices on site.
Austin’s successful blasting procedures include:
• Clear the blast site of all non-loading workers
• Inspect the face for abnormalities
• Examine bore holes for burden spacing and depth
• Check the timing pattern prior to loading
• Load explosives in each hole
• Adhere to pre-established stemming heights
• Double check hookups
• Observe communication standards to fire blast
• Shelter workers in blast area before blast is fired
• Inspect the area for misfires and signal "all clear"
Bluffton’s flagstone buyers include the Lang Stone Company and Mr. Mulch, both in Columbus, Ohio. Lang Stone features irregular and patterned flagstones from 1” to 3” in thickness and fairly flat to landscape architects for paving patios, walkways and driveways.
The stones are either laid dry in compacted crushed limestone with sand as the leveling agent, or wet laid on concrete in cement. Mr. Mulch boasts one of the widest selections of stones in the area, with neutral colors, exotic pink or purple, sandstone, limestone, cobbles, stepping stones and wall stones. A unique aspect of their store is that they also sell mulch and topsoil with natural stone and aggregates – a one-stop shop for landscaping companies.
Bluffton Stone Company also markets sand. They dump limestone into their primary crusher, a 2540 Austin Weston compression jaw crusher. Then it goes to the universal horizontal impact crusher, and then onto their VSI crusher, a model 77 ISC. Materials pass through a 5 X 14 Diester triple-deck screen and are loaded and hauled with Cats 980G and 988B.
To service this equipment, Bluffton’s often turns to Mellott Enterprises, Inc. Past supply orders included bucker bar – to 3/8-inch rubber crown bar, speed reducers, toggle seats for the jaw crusher, anvils – blowbars, crush parts, conveyor idle rollers and jaw dyes.
One final creative marketing idea, although not used for a major product but one that certainly can keep the cash register ringing, is selling fossils and fluorite crystal. Bluffton’s Manager of Operations, Mike Gerken, has found tons of fossils and huge chunks of fluorite crystal.
“One guy got over $1,000 for one of these rocks,” said Mike Gerken.
Several pieces of fluorite are on sale at Rockman Joe’s online, which specializes in minerals from the state of Ohio.
Bluffton Stone Company quarry is located on both sides of I-75 in Bluffton, Ohio. For more information, contact them at 310 Quarry Drive, Bluffton, Ohio 45817. Call: (419) 358-6941, or fax inquiries to: (419) 358-8247.

Bluffton Stone Company
Loaders: Cat 966, Cat 980 G, Cat 988 B
Crusher: 2540 Austin Weston compression jaw crusher
Universal horizontal impact crusher
Impact Service Corp vertical shaft impact crusher, Model 77
Screen: 5 X 14 Diester triple-deck screen