James Crossingham IV, the fourth generation in the family business, worked many long days with the rest of the staff getting the new quarry in Eden, N.C., up and running.
Ararat Rock Products Company has operated a quarry in Mount Airy, N.C., for more than 50 years. Recently, the company acquired a new one in Eden, N.C. (formerly Virginia Solite).
James Crossingham IV, vice president of Ararat Rock Products Company, said that his grandfather started the company in 1955, and is still active in it at the age of 85.
“He was with the Navy Construction Battalion during the Korean War,” Crossingham said. “They crushed rock and built air fields and things like that all over the world. He actually crushed rock at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and that’s where he sort of fell in love with rock crushing. So when he got out of the service that was what he wanted to do. He started in the rock crushing business in 1955, and they did mostly portable crushing for years, following the interstate system. They followed I-77, I-81, I-85 and I-64, and did a lot of crushing for the interstate system as it was being built.”
Crossingham’s father, James III, recently retired after working at the quarry his entire life, and the legacy continues.
“I started working in the quarry on weekends and summers and school breaks — either in the passenger seat of a dump truck or riding on the fuel tank of the D8 or the hood of the scraper with Dad and Grandpa my whole life,” he said. “Then when I got out of school, I came to work and I’ve been here ever since. I’ve been here about 12 years full time. We have operated a portable crushing operation in Wyoming for the past six years, so that’s been a big part of my education — moving around the state of Wyoming and crushing different kinds of rock”
The business changed from portable crushing exclusively with the addition of a permanent site around 1960, with the crew going out when there was work and returning when there wasn’t. At one point, they had three portable plants operating in North Carolina and Virginia. The company has been located only in Mount Airy since 1980.
The new quarry was purchased in December of 2013, and Crossingham plans to bring something new to the location.
“The Eden location has been operated as a production facility for lightweight aggregate until only recently,” Crossingham said. “Producing lightweight aggregate requires additional processing that we will not be conducting. We will be producing NCDOT approved construction aggregates for the private municipal and commercial markets. The stone here makes a high quality product, and I think folks will be very pleased with the performance and look of our stone. It is called argillite, which is very similar to slate. It is black and very durable. We hope to fully develop this site and a healthy market in this region with a quality product and superior service.”
Crossingham said that he plans to go out and market their product to a broader range of customers than the previous owners.
“There is potential that has not yet been realized for that market, and we are hoping to do that.”
A few new pieces were purchased for the operation, but Crossingham said they have brought in some used equipment as well as fabricating some of it themselves to create a plant.
New items include five new Hoover brand conveyors, two 6 x 20 ft. (1.8 x 6.1 m) Telsmith horizontal screens and a 52 x 52 in. (132.1 x 132.1 cm) Telsmith horizontal impact crusher. The company also builds some conveyors and equipment.
“We are one of very few family owned quarries left,” Crossingham said. “Most of them have been gobbled up by the big players, and we are one of the few left. We were one of the very few single quarry operations, and this is a whole different era for us, being a regional player instead of just a one-quarry operation. We’re a family owned company that obviously aims to serve the customer. I think we can be very competitive here, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Ararat Rock Products locations include:
Mt. Airy Quarry
525 Quarry Road
Mt. Airy, N.C.
11661 N.C. Hwy. 770
For more information, call 336/648-0515.