What brought you to Grand Junction?
I came to Grand Junction from Denver in 2005 as an employee of the Denver-based Robinson Brick Company, tasked with opening a new store here in town. Local residents Larry Dixon and Robert Mendenhall were hired on at that time as well.
The company was sold to General Shale in 2006, but continued to operate under the Robinson Brick name as a division of General Shale until 2011, when we became General Shale. The three of us have worked together for eight years now, and we added a fourth employee, Vince Harney, two years ago.
What are some of the changes you have seen in the business over that time?
Our biggest change of late is our recent move to our new location at 2122 Highway 6. Our new building includes a large, state-of-the art showroom that enables us to display all of our products. Additionally, while our products are professional grade quality, contractors and homeowners alike are able to walk into our showroom and purchase the same products.
Another change we have seen is the expansion of our product line. General Shale is often thought of as just a brick supplier, when we actually have so much more to offer. General Shale offers a full-line of masonry supplies. In addition to our legacy brick line, we also offer Thin Brick, Thin Rock, concrete block, building materials and Outdoor Living products, such as fireplaces and fire pits, pavers, retaining walls, and other hardscape products. All of our products are available to see and touch in our showroom, and we are currently building an Outdoor Living display as well.
What sets General Shale apart from its competitors?
General Shale’s personalized customer service sets us apart. Our staff makes each customer our first priority, no matter the size of the project or price point of the materials. We strive to take care of each customer’s needs. We take the time to educate them on the products required for their project, equip them with the resources to properly install and maintain their project, or provide them with a referral if their project requires a professional. In addition, we offer product deliveries and, beginning in April, will expand our hours to include Saturdays during the summer months.
Can you speak to the recent popularity of brick and stone veneers?
At General Shale, we offer a variety of brick and stone veneers, including real and manufactured options. Real stone veneers are actual stones gathered and processed in quarries, while the manufactured versions replicate the look of natural stone using cement cast in molds of real stones. The Thin Brick and Thin Rock can be used to build interior walls and fireplaces, as well as everything from a single exterior wall to chimney chases, foundation skirts or the entire exterior of the building. Veneers are extremely versatile products with corners and flats available in every color. While veneers are non-structural, they are an important part of the design and construction process, and can significantly alter the look and style of the home. This makes veneer products very popular for home renovations as well as new construction. Our brick veneer is available in a broad selection of standard colors, but custom colors are available, too. The design possibilities are endless, and the end result is a look that is timeless and elegant.
What else do you expect to be popular in 2014?
Customers are using our brick products to build small garden walls, often for raised planting beds. People are spending more time at home and in their yards, so we are seeing an increasing interest in the Outdoor Living product line. The product line has been expanded and now includes items such as fireplaces, fire pits, pizza ovens, benches, water features, mailboxes, clay and concrete pavers, landscaping stones and more. Many products are available in do-it-yourself kits that simplify design and installation. I think these DIY kits are popular because they provide consumers an opportunity to customize their outdoor living area in a creative and affordable way. In order to really maximize their space, some consumers are using retaining walls to provide added usable space for outdoor patios and reduce the need for steps. The retaining wall also can eliminate steep slopes or provide a layering effect for flowers or shrubbery. Our showroom and on-site displays really help people visualize all of the options available to them. It is a great place to get ideas.
Looking for help improving your home? Call the HBA of Northwestern Colorado at (970) 245-0253 or visit http://www.hbanwco.com