Increasing market share key to new Basalite facility

Gordon Hinkle has a lot of work ahead.

As general manager for Basalite Concrete Products LLC, Hinkle guides the company's 12 locations. Ensuring the success of Basalite's new $15 million hardscape manufacturing facility at 2551 Boeing Way in Carson City will be Hinkle's biggest challenge over the coming years.

The state-of-the-art plant has an annual production capacity of 9.5 million square feet of concrete pavers per year, but the northern Nevada market currently supports just 5 million square feet - roughly $15 million to $20 million per year. Basalite currently supplies about 2 million square feet of pavers to the industry in northern Nevada.

Basalite has manufactured concrete blocks at a site adjacent to its new facility since 1972. A distribution center in Sparks and an aggregate quarry in Dayton, which still supplies materials to the concrete block facility, followed that plant.

"We know what we are doing in manufacturing concrete block," Hinkle says.

Interlocking pavers are an entirely different operation. A concrete block has about a 1,900 pounds-per-square-inch pressure rating; pavers must withstand 8,000 pounds per square inch. They require a special heavyweight aggregate, which still comes from Dayton but not from Basalite.

"If you own your own quarry, you get it at your own cost," Hinkle says. "But because of the lightweight characteristics of our aggregate, we cannot get those strengths out of it."

With the strong growth in northern Nevada over the past decade and beyond, Basalite saw an opportunity to become the region's dominant paver supplier - and give the local environmental a huge contribution in the process.

"All those pavers are being imported from Northern California. The big push is green, and when you are transporting those pavers 130 to 150 miles, that doesn't help," Hinkle says. "This plant helps with green building because now we are only transporting at the most 30 miles into the largest market in northern Nevada, the Reno-Sparks area."

Hinkle says demand for pavers has risen from 1,200 square feet 15 years ago to five million today. Both Carson City plants and their storage areas occupy 19 acres. The new facility, which came online in December, added 14 jobs, with nine more still to be filled.


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