Blair Block expanding in Childersburg
by Mark Ledbetter
Jul 26, 2013 | 3737 views |  0 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CHILDERSBURG – During a called meeting of the Childersburg Local Development Authority Wednesday, the Childersburg City Council, which serves as the authority board, voted to sell Blair Block 40 acres in the Childersburg Industrial Park.

The council agreed to sell the property at $3,000 per acre and allow Blair to pay for the property in yearly increments of $12,000 for 10 years.

Tommy Blair is the owner and president while his wife Fay serves as office manager. Their son Matt is the plant manager.

The Blairs formerly owned Marble City Masonry in Sylacauga before selling the business and eventually establishing Blair Block. Blair Block LLC originally purchased property in the industrial park in 2007 and was in production by May 2008.

Matt Blair said initially, the business struggled as it tried to regain its customer base, but once it recovered, he said there has been a steady increase in customers even during the economic downturn that hit the building industry.

He said the plant has customers primarily from a 150 mile radius, however it also provides products in growing areas such as Columbus, Ga., Auburn-Opelika and Tuscaloosa.

Production averages 14,000 concrete blocks per 10-hour shift, Matt Blair said. They have 40 different molds to produce a variety of block styles, including the traditional 8-inch regular block, cap blocks, as well as a variety of special-design blocks and decorative blocks.

Blair said the business recently purchased another machine that can produce 20,000 blocks per day. He said it was purchased to keep up with the competition.

The new equipment should be running by the end of the calendar year and will not only increase productivity, but it may also produce six to 10 new jobs.

“We didn’t anticipate growth as fast as we did,” Blair said.

With the purchase of the additional 40 acres across the road from their present site, Blair said plans call for the construction of a 30,000 square-foot building that will warehouse block, serve as a truck shop and serve other needs.

Blair said the decorative block needs to be housed inside to prevent the color from fading. Once it fades, it is impossible to match, he said.

The 40 acres also includes a basin that once served as a run-off pool for ash produced by the power plant that once serviced the area while the munitions plant and Beaunit rayon mill were in operation. Blair said the basin would be good to have should they expand their production to include the need for a collection pool.

Presently, Blair Block employs 20 employees. Blair said with all the new additions and improvements, he hopes the company can produce up to 30 jobs.

Blair’s block production includes the use of two industrial by-products that compose 85 percent of their block. Two chief ingredients besides cement are slag and bottom ash. Therefore, not only are their blocks environmentally friendly, but the ingredients also provide the block with texture without compromising strength.

Blair Block also works with Dauber Company Inc. to produce silicon carbide “brick” that are used by refineries to produce cast iron materials. The briquettes are used in electric furnace operations.

Dauber also has a production plant in the industrial park, producing silicon carbide pellets that are bagged and sold. Pellets that are too small or too large are used in the production of the briquettes, so there is no waste in raw materials, Blair said.

Blair said two additional products will be added to compliment what they already produce, items including split-face blocks, Portland Cement, Type N Mortar, Type S Mortar, colored mortars, masonry sand (one yard totes), brick and block lintel irons, rebar, anchor bolts, foundation vents, brick wall ties, block wall reinforcement wire (Dura-Wire), parking lot bumpers and deck block.

The new products will be preblend mortar and sand sold in 1-ton totes and delivered to the site, and 60-pound bagged rock mix.

Blair said products are sold wholesale, commercial and to individuals.

“We will sell to anyone who will pay,” Blair said.

Tommy Blair said the company loves being in Childersburg. He said he is especially thankful to the City Council for working with the company.

“They have been good to us and very helpful,” Tommy said. “That’s why we wanted to expand here in Childersburg.”

Blair Block is located on First Road in the Childersburg Industrial Park.

Contact Mark Ledbetter at mledbetter@dailyhome.com