Launch Slideshow

Image

A Tale of Two Families

A Tale of Two Families

  • Image

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/tmp222%2Etmp_tcm77-1294454.jpg

    Image

    300

    Jenna Bodnar/Getty Images

    Bill and Debbie Harper say all 50 employees of Harper Concrete Inc. have the same opportunities as family members.

  • Image

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/tmp223%2Etmp_tcm77-1294456.jpg

    Image

    300

    Jenna Bodnar/Getty Images

    Dale Garrett bought an existing ready-mix plant and started Garrett Ready Mix in Sparwood, British Columbia. His wife, Judy, is company president and Dale is secretary.

  • Image

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/tmp224%2Etmp_tcm77-1294459.jpg

    Image

    300

    Garrett Ready Mix

    Once a mining community, Fernie Snow Valley has become a major ski and golf destination. Garrett Ready Mix pours footings for a restaurant at the Fernie Alpine Resort.

A dying tradition?

Although these producers are different sizes in very different markets, the Harpers and the Garretts both wonder if small, family-owned ready-mix producers are becoming a thing of the past.

The Garrett family sees larger companies buying up smaller operations in British Columbia and Alberta, especially in metropolitan areas like Calgary. But the Garrett family's small-town niche may keep them under the radar. “I don't see the big companies being interested in coming here,” says Marty Garrett.

In Utah, Debbie Harper has watched large general contractors acquire family construction businesses.

“It's becoming very difficult for individual or family contractors to meet the strict standards and meet insurance and bonding limits required to do the type of heavy highway work we do,” she says. “The dynamics of family businesses are changing before our eyes.”

For more on what to consider when selling the family concrete business, please turn to this month's Concrete Returns column.