GRAVENHURST - Granite-hard resolve and solid foundations are seeing to industrial expansion in Muskoka.
Muskoka Rock Company looks to expand.
A CUT ABOVE. Gravenhurst only recently welcomed the new venture Muskoka Rock Company, but already its owners are expanding. During a ceremony May 10, the co-family owners, the Coulsons and the Halls, who have operated businesses in the Parry Sound area for decades, celebrated the expansion with town staff, council and the community. (Photo by Neil Etienne)
The Muskoka Rock Company of Gravenhurst, whose veins reach deep into Parry Sound’s manufacturing core, only opened this past January but already it’s eyeing a major expansion to double its output, meet demands and create new jobs across the region.
Muskoka Rock Company is a new venture of longtime business partners and family friends in the Coulsons and Halls.
With its four barges, Coulson Brothers Scow Service has been serving the lakes of Muskoka since 1969 and Hall Construction Inc. has been supplying construction and aggregate supply services in the Parry Sound-Muskoka area for more than 40 years.
The two joined forces to create the Gravenhurst-based company and opened their 14,000-square-foot facility at 1165 Bethune Dr. North, near the Highway 11 overpass. The former wood veneer plant hosts a massive aggregate saw and a finer guillotine saw that has met the demands of this past winter, but as partner Arnie Coulson explained, the summer cottage rush is about to come in, along with their growing needs. He said the new venture grew out of their long ties to Muskoka’s manufacturing and aggregate industry and seeing a need they could fill.
“We started brainstorming one day and this (Muskoka Rock Company) came out of that,” Coulson explained.
They had purchased the essentially empty Gravenhurst industrial building before the new year and were weighing options, he explained.
“We didn’t just want to section the building off for rentals or lease; we wanted to see it being used to its full potential.”
The massive aggregate saw now has a twin destined for the building and will be arriving in early July. That was the crux of the celebration May 10 and will allow the company to carve raw granite into form for steps, landscaping, housing and retaining walls. The companies draw on three Muskoka region quarries and use their own local hauling from around Parry Sound to Gravenhurst and back. The expansion means the current Muskoka Rock Company crew of about six employees will need to blossom by about double when the additional saw is added in July.
“But it’s not just here in the plant in Gravenhurst,” partner Kirby Hall said of the need for more employees.
“It’s the extraction, the blasting the hauling; we see this as really good news for jobs across the whole region.”
“It (the new saw) will double our production and double our output, Hall added. “It’s an aggressive growth, but we’re really happy with the product we’re producing here and so are our customers.”
Mayor Paisley Donaldson said she was thrilled the company sought out a location in Gravenhurst and looks forward to a long, fruitful relationship.