The reins at Indiana Limestone Co. of Oolitic, IN, have changed hands many times over. The company, which operates both a fabrication facility and numerous quarries, was originally formed in 1926, and in 2010 merged with Victor Ooltic Stone Co. It was eventually purchased in May of 2014 by Wynnchurch Capital, who owns it today. The business is primarily known for supplying Indiana limestone to many high-profile projects in North America, including the Empire State Building in New York, NY; the Pentagon, the National Cathedral and the Ronald Reagan building in Washington, DC; the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA; and numerous U.S. courthouses. Among the company’s more recent projects are 15 Central Park West in New York, NY; Liberty Mutual Headquarters in Boston, MA; the Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, MS; Yale University in New Haven, CT; and Princeton University in Princeton, NJ.
Indiana Limestone Co. operates 10 quarry sites, which are located on 4,500 acres of quarry reserves in Lawrence and Monroe counties in Indiana, and is actively quarrying on three of those. “We produce Buff, Silver Buff, Rustic Buff, Gray and Full Color Blend Indiana limestone,” explained Duffe Elkins, the company’s Chief Operating Officer. “We produce 56,000 cubic meters each quarry season, with 90% of this shipped within North America. All quarry sites meet ASTM C-568 standards for Class II medium density materials.”
In the quarry, the company saws and extracts 10-ton quarry blocks using Caterpillar brand loaders, haul trucks, excavators and material handlers. Additionally, a Park Industries quarry drill is used, along with Standish quarry belt saws to cut ledges.
The company employs 175 workers across five sites, and has 150,000 square feet of fabrication space. That includes 95 quarry workers, 55 employees in the fabrication shops and 25 office and sales personnel.
“We advertise locally for new workers,” said Elkins. “There are other quarry and fabrication sites in the area, but we try to avoid hiring from other quarries or factories.”
The team uses various sawing and stone breaking equipment to manufacture its standard products. “Specifically, we use Standish narrow belt saws to cut our slabs,” said Elkins. “We use a Park Industries Python bridge saw, Jaguar bridge saw and thin veneer saw to saw product. We also have various pieces of proprietary equipment such as integrated sawing/rock-facing lines to cut and finish our sills and treads.”
Although owners, architects and developers are customers, it’s typically fabricators and distributors who purchase products, including blocks, slabs, paving, veneers (smooth and split), sills, hearths, mantels, and pier and wall caps. “Our sales efforts toward architects, owners and developers are focused on getting Indiana limestone specified on the project,” explained Elkins. “We expect to continue to focus on our block and slab business with new finished good products providing additional growth. Currently, blocks make up 35% of our sales, with the channel being large fabricators. Slabs are 40% of sales to small fabricators. Finished goods represent 25% of sales, with the channel being distributors, such as stone yards, landscape yards, brick yards and masonry yards. Our total product line shipments average approximately 800+ trucks per month.”
As for long-term goals, Elkins’ vision for the next few years is to continue to grow organically and through acquisition, while expanding geographic reach and building upon the recent successful Thin Veneer and Tread product launches. “Our focus is to be the premier exterior, interior and landscape stone supplier in North America, with a strong brand that travels abroad,” he explained. “We will focus on education and collaboration with the A&D community, while delivering best in class quality and service to our customers.”