In 1975, Danny Ratliff decided to start his own masonry company, which has now developed into Ratliff Hardscape. Prior to the launch of his business, he had been laying brick for himself and realized he could be doing what the larger companies at the time were doing, but do it better. He built walls, retaining walls, fireplaces, mailboxes — pretty much everything. In the 1980s and 1990s, the company discovered it was hard to obtain the material that the hardscape business needed, such as sand, concrete and rock. As a result, Ratliff decided to open his own distribution center in 1988 for hardscape materials, Caprock Hardscape Supply, located in Lewisville, TX. The hardscape supply business continued to grow, as it had all the products customers wanted for hardscape, but also because they featured the best prices of the area and, most of all, great service.
Caprock Hardscape Supply got its stone products in Stigler, OK, where there is a small geographical area where quality stone is located. Within that small area, there is a smaller area where the stone has great veining, so there are only a few really good spots to get the Oklahoma Natural Stone. When the recession of 2008 hit, several of the local quarries started to shut down. It became incredibly difficult to get that stone, so Danny Ratliff decided to get into the quarrying business, opening up Quality Stone Quarries in Stigler, OK.
As the business continued to grow, Danny’s family started to get involved. His father, Phil Ratliff, works for Caprock Hardscape Supply, and his daughter, Sarah Ratliff, is now the director of marketing for Quality Stone Quarries. “We knew what people wanted, and we knew how to market it to the right people,” said Sarah Ratliff. “Then when the recession came, we ran into the problem of where to get stone because the other quarries were going under. Working with quarries in Oklahoma and in Stigler was really difficult because some of the nicest stone up there can be really hard to mine, and can be very expensive to get. They will only go so far into the ground and then they don’t want to spend the extra money to break through the thicker layers of rock and harvest the premium stone.
“That’s how we got into the quarrying business, mainly because we couldn’t get stone,” she continued. “Now we are this very all-inclusive land development business. We can go from hardscape to quarrying. It has been quite different than the hardscape business, but it’s something that while is challenging, is also a lot of fun for us.
Quality Stone Quarries currently operates three sites, as the demand for its stone in the Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, area continues to grow. Among the products quarried is Oklahoma Natural Stone, which is available in two different variations, Oklahoma Multi-Colored Hazelnut and Oklahoma Azul. The Hazelnut Multi-Color consists of Chocolate, Tan, Beige and Cinnamon colors, while the Oklahoma Azul comes in Carmel-Blue, Blue and Onyx-Blue. The stone is offered in chopped rock, cut into brick-shaped pieces around four inches wide, with lengths from 6 to 18 inches, as well as in slabs along with patio.
The three quarries range in size. While the largest spans 400 acres, the second covers 320 acres and the new one is 150 acres. Quality Stone Quarries has approximately 50 workers and has a capacity of 700 tons a week. Equipment at the quarrying sites include four Stone Cutters, eight John Deere skid steers, five loaders, four of them John Deere and one Komatsu, two massive excavators and two hammers. “Our hammers really let us get down in the quarries and get the pieces that other people aren’t able to get,” said Sarah Ratliff. “There have been a couple of times where we kept cutting down, kept digging, and we found some really beautiful layers of rock for slabs and for chopped rock.”
The company sells to everyone and anyone from around the country and still has its three primary businesses. “We know that to be successful you have to diversify yourself,” said Sarah Ratliff. “If another recession happens, we have our eggs in different places. Because of our four massive Stone Cutters, we have been able to produce a lot of chopped rock. So we can supply it to anyone from the larger stone yards, like Caprock, to the larger volume distributors as well.”
Looking to the future, Quality Stone Quarries intends to carry on the trend of growth. “We will look to continue to expand and grow, always keeping our minds open to new ideas and new markets to tap into,” said Ratliff. “And we also plan to continue to hustle as much as we can in our current market.”