Case Studies

Delaware Quarries Inc.

Quarried stone, gravel and value-added projects in New Hope, Pennsylvania

After returning from service in World War II, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Busik established Delaware Quarries Inc. The B-17 pilot had saved up his pay from the military over his years of service and applied both his financial resources and the skills and values he had gained in the military to launch a successful company. Today Delaware Quarries is vertically integrated and provides stone, gravel and veneer to property owners, contractors and distributors throughout the Western Hemisphere from a headquarters in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

The heart of the company is the stone quarry along the banks of the Delaware River. As the oldest operating quarry in the United States, this location has been producing quality stone since 1758. “Many of the original buildings in Philadelphia and New Jersey were built from stone that came from that quarry,” says George Cannell, director of national sales for Delaware Quarries.

Quality set in stone

The quarry still produces fine stones, from landscaping boulders to decorative gravel, providing Delaware Quarries with the best selection of stone products in the U.S. “What sets us apart is that as far as decorative stone is concerned, we have a well-rounded supply of most of the different kinds of decorative stones out there,” Cannell explains. “We operate a quarry, whereas many of our competitors are jobbers or distributors. Most quarries sell building stone and maybe distribute landscape products, whereas Delaware Quarries is building stone, landscaping products and gravels and we also manufacture and distribute veneers. No one else in the U.S. does all the things we do in-house.”

Delaware Quarries’ first sizable contract was supplying stone veneer for Princeton University. That delivery sparked a trend that would continue for decades. The company is now the go-to supplier for many higher education projects, especially in Philadelphia.

“We have long-standing relationships with many architects throughout our service area,” says Cannell. “A lot of them are comfortable with us because we’ve done so many jobs. The large masonry contractors are comfortable with us because we’ve done so many jobs. We’ll often get a call when a university or another large building comes up and they usually ask us to sit in on the pre-planning of the building.”

“Our clients seek out our expertise when they are looking to design a building,” continues Cannell. “We help them determine veneer thickness, the configuration of veneer and they might have an idea of a veneer they want and we advise them. For example, if a client wants quarry product that has limited availability, we let them know that they could do the job, but time restraints might not work with that product. We play an important role in keeping projects out of trouble.”

A growing market

With nine physical locations and a few more in the works, operations range from the headquarters in New Hope, down to Sanford, Florida, and all the way to Portland, Oregon. Delaware Quarries has supplied stone for projects throughout the country.

Recent work includes supplying stone veneer for a building at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia as well as other projects nationwide. “Our quarry was used on a project in Denver for Trinity Methodist Church, the oldest church in Denver,” Cannell recounts. “The stone on it had deteriorated and much of the exterior had to be replaced. They searched throughout the U.S. to find sandstone that would survive in the frost-heat environment. That cycle wreaks havoc on stone. They found our stone – only – would survive as they required for refurbishing of this huge church.”

The team continues to provide expertise and quality materials for a wide range of stonework projects. Whether small or large, each has its own challenges. By maintaining efficiency and tightly managing costs, the Delaware Quarries team is able to focus on customers instead of the books.

“As a result of the work of our founder, who is still alive at 93, we have maintained a steady flow of business,” Cannell explains. “Because of his military background and because of the way he conducted himself, the company has no long-term or short-term debt of any kind.”

Kevin Busik, CEO of Delaware Quarries and the son of the company’s founder, has made it his mission to continue the company’s legacy. Over the years growing up in the business and working with his father, the younger Busik has adopted many of the values, policies and procedures that have made the business successful over the years. Both father and son have served as presidents of the Building Stone Institute and both have been named Man of the Year by the trade organization.

With strong leadership and expanding capabilities, Delaware Quarries continues to broaden its horizons. “We are always looking for opportunities anywhere we can find them,” says Cannell. “We’re continuing to get into new areas with regard to decorative stone. There is always new equipment and new methods that we will continue to adopt as the market demands.”

Slated for steady, sustainable growth over the coming years, Delaware Quarries Inc. continues to provide quality stone and leading expertise to the national construction market.

Published on: August 3, 2015

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