Ruby Concrete Company closes after 150 years in business

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One of the longest running businesses in Hopkins County and the state is closing for good.

Ruby Concrete Company, which started back in 1869, announced they’re shutting down this week.
They’ve sold products used to make buildings across Madisonville.

“The old courthouse, the new courthouse, the hospital, the clinic, most of the retail businesses, a majority of the houses here in Madisonville,” recalled Kent Waide, Ruby Concrete Company President.
But after 150 years in business, Ruby Concrete is no more. Waide says its due to more shoppers buying products online, and a downturn in the state’s coal industry.

“Our primary market for concrete blocks was coal mines and, obviously, that market has significantly. Also, the construction in the area is tied to the coal mine industry,” he said. Fewer than ten workers are impacted by the closing.

This business didn’t start out selling concrete blocks or bricks. Founder John Ruby started this company as a general store that sold lumber, then transitioned to concrete.

“I’ve worked here for over 20 years. My dad actually started working here in 1953,” Waide recalled. “He’s sad. Obviously he put his career in to it, but absolutely understands the business cycles and at times this event occurs.”

“It’s hurting the whole community,” says John Pendley, a contractor and a long time customer. He fears the closing could impact his business, and ability to find local suppliers.

“If we’re needing a little something to finish a job up, we might be shutting down for a day for material to get here and not coming over here, picking them up ourself,” Pendley says.

Waide adds no decision on the future of the business site’s been made.
 

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(This story was originally published on March 6, 2019

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