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
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.”
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
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
• Clear the blast site of all non-loading workers
the face for abnormalities
• Examine bore holes for burden spacing and
• Check the timing pattern prior to loading
explosives in each hole
• Adhere to pre-established stemming heights
• Double check hookups
• Observe communication standards to fire
• Shelter workers in blast area before blast is fired
Inspect the area for misfires and signal "all clear"
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
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
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.
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.