Columbus Brick Vows to Stay Just the Way It Is After Sale
COLUMBUS – Courtesy of The Dispatch
Al Puckett, the latest generation of owners at Columbus Brick Company, recently sold the company to Tennessee-based General Shale, more than 120 years after the company’s original founding by his great-great-grandfather. Puckett sees all of his workers and managers as family, and the sales agreement will see to it that they all keep their jobs, and, in fact, will be vital to bringing the business forward into the 21st century.
“[General Shale’s people] want everybody to stay,” Puckett said. “They will not put a person here. I’m going to stay on for at least four years and our general manager, Ed Thebaud, will continue to manage the day-to-day operations. Nobody is going to lose their job. It’s Columbus Brick, and it will stay that way.”
Puckett notes that this decision has been under consideration for many years, and is not one he took lightly: “Sure, there are always things you want to pursue,” he said. “But life is life. You may want those things, but really, what you have to do is walk through the doors that are before you.”
Today, the company cranks out 140 million bricks every month, a volume which would have been unheard of back in the 1800s. Back then, you could find brickmakers just about everywhere; these days, not so much. However, Puckett says that his company is thriving in a day when the industry itself is on the verge of dying out: “The company is in great shape,” he said. “It’s not like (the sale) was something we were forced into. . . Our industry is in dire straits, about 30 percent of the brick companies are sitting idle, so nobody needs to go buy more capacity,” he added. “I think probably the biggest thing we were known for is the people we have accumulated. I’m often told I have the best people in the industry. I think that’s what made us appealing to General Shale. They know us. We know them.”