BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — For neighbors of The Shelly Company’s Stoneco Quarry in Maumee, the existence of the quarry is obvious. Throughout the year, they receive notifications regarding scheduled blasts, but for residents in and around Maumee, the location of the quarry is not always apparent.
With hundreds of visitors stopping by the quarry’s open house on August 19, many were asked a quick question: Did you know this was here?
For a portion of them, the answer was no. Some knew the quarry was on Ford Street, but just didn’t know where the entrance was. Others knew there was a quarry in Maumee but weren’t positive on the location. A few didn’t even know a quarry existed within the city.
When taking a bus ride down more than 300 feet into the bottom of the quarry, only a few raised their hands when asked if they had been to the quarry before.
As the bus descended, Sam Brauen, a member of The Shelly Company’s sales department, was one of many appointed guides who fielded questions and provided a brief description of the company.
“We’re here to answer your questions and have fun today,” Brauen told the crowd as the tour started.
On the tour, visitors could ask questions about the quarry. They were curious about a lot of things, and Brauen and Tim Rowan, The Shelly Company vice president and general manager of the northwest division, answered as many questions as they could.
Questions included: How deep is the quarry? It’s 380 feet. How many different types of products come out of the quarry? Thirty. How much aggregate comes out of the quarry each year? One million tons. How often do blasts occur at the quarry? It varies, but up to a few times a week in peak season. How much product is created with a blast? Approximately 30,000 tons.
According to Brauen, if the current estimates stand, it will take approximately 50 years before the company reaches the maximum depth permitted at the quarry and cannot go down further. From there, other options would have to be explored, he explained to the visitors.
“We do have mining rights all the way to (Interstate) 475. When you’re down several hundred feet, you can create an underground mine. That is not a new concept,” Brauen said.
It will be a while before that happens, though. Instead, the staff is focused on moving deeper into the quarry. However, operating a business like this in the middle of Maumee can lead to some challenges, and not just for the quarry itself.
“When we have blasts, we want to be good neighbors. A lot of times, quarries are out in the country, but we’re in the middle of the city, so we notify the businesses around us,” Brauen said.
The product created with these blasts is plentiful, though, he added. The company can sell asphalt, ready-mix concrete, small and larger stone, sand and more.
The business supplies products to both large businesses and individuals, Rowan added.
Not everybody knows just what they do at the quarry, Rowan noted, so holding the annual open house is important to spread information and do something free for the community.
“This is all about the community and being a good neighbor,” Rowan said. “We want to explain to everybody what we do and be as good of a neighbor as possible.”
Also at the quarry open house were several booths full of information and activities for the visitors.
When visitors first approached the property, they were able to sign up for a chance to win door prizes and were presented with free T-shirts. From there, they explored equipment, including the vehicles needed to transport the products created by the quarry.
Workers were also on hand to answer questions and encourage curiosity in the young visitors, especially.
“My motto is, if they’re not leaving with rocks, then we’re not doing our job of educating,” said Michelle Kronberg, a geologist and member of The Shelly Company’s quality control department. “That’s what today is all about. We want to open up the quarry and show people what an active mine is.”
While Kronberg explained to the children about the limestone and minerals found in the quarry, she also kept a pile of sand stocked with a variety of treasures.
“I want the kids to be hands-on and see what Maumee rocks are like and learn more,” Kronberg said.
As the hours passed, hundreds of children pulled out treasures like calcite to take home and show their friends.
At another table, visitors could get their hands on rocks from all over the country and learn more about the origin of each piece.
Other free goodies, including gift cards, toys, hats and more, were available at one of the stations.
Before leaving, staff members served up a free lunch for the visitors.
Approximately 45 staff members worked together to provide the free, public event to the community and offer more insight, including job opportunities with The Shelly Company, to everyone.
“We’re very pleased with how many people have come out to see us and learn more,” Rowan said. “We also want everyone to know we’re hiring at many of our locations.
More information on the company is available at shellyco.com.