Without a doubt, the most diverse—and artistic—sector of the concrete production industry is precast site amenities. Some site amenities are more utilitarian, such as a precast concrete restroom. Cast stone adds a touch of distinction to building exteriors, and ornamental precast products such as statues, birdbaths, and animal shapes add beauty to landscapes. Many more—such as segmental retaining walls, park benches, trash receptacles, bollards, and interlocking concrete pavements—add both utility and beauty.
Some large and small producers are succeeding in this market because they realize that theirs is a people business first and foremost. Business relationships, like personal ones, must be nurtured and built on trust.
San Diego Precast Concrete Inc., Santee, Calif., focuses on company image. Alamo Cast Stone Inc. in Boerne, Texas lets its large inventory of water fountains and birdbaths sell itself in a showroom concept. Jeff Edwards of Edwards Stone Cast Co., Dubuque, Iowa, says that the best way to have a successful business is to put out a good, dependable product and be true to your word. For the precaster who ventures into design-build—such as Huffcutt Concrete Inc. in Chippewa Falls, Wis.—networking takes on added importance. Basalite Concrete Products in Tracy, Calif., has taken an aggressive marketing stance by working hard to educate architects about interlocking pavers for commercial use. At Basalite Concrete Products/Keystone Segmental Retaining Walls in Dixon, Calif., a sales force of five actively promotes the differences between segmental retaining wall units and other wall systems.