General Shale announces new branding strategy after completing industry milestone acquisition
Published 10:42 am Wednesday, December 1, 2021
General Shale, the largest producer of brick and sustainable building solutions in North America, has unveiled a new branding strategy following the company’s acquisition of Meridian Brick.
The Johnson City, Tennessee-based company is introducing three new brands that will replace Meridian Brick production and sales locations in the U.S. and Canada. These new brands include Canada Brick, Michigan Brick and Red River Brick.
The company is also assigning established and highly regarded General Shale brands to former Meridian Brick sites, which will enhance the company’s portfolios in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southern U.S. markets. These brands include Watsontown Brick, General Shale Brick and Columbus Brick.
“This announcement fully reveals our strategy in acquiring Meridian Brick,” says Charles Smith, president and CEO of General Shale. “Now that we have been established as the largest manufacturer in the industry, our footprint encompasses many regions and covers a very passionate and diverse customer base. Our goal is to connect with these customers through meaningful regional associations, while also reinforcing their familiarity with historical brands that continue to resonate today.”
Canadian manufacturing facilities in Aldershot and Burlington, Ontario, will be rebranded as Canada Brick. The name is a re-introduction of a brand used several decades ago, as its use still retains a valuable association with high-quality products. The Canada Brick brand also lays claim to a rich heritage of legacy craftsmanship in the Canadian marketplace — specifically in Ontario and Quebec. Canada Brick joins Arriscraft, the stone products group of General Shale, in its Canadian operations.
The manufacturing facility in Corunna, Michigan, will be branded as Michigan Brick, establishing the company as the leading provider of brick solutions in the Midwest. Similar to Canada Brick, the name has a history that spans decades and is still regarded as a quality producer of residential brick.
“We are making a statement with reintroducing the Michigan Brick name,” Smith says. “The products the brand is known for reflect General Shale’s mission to provide the highest quality of masonry materials through innovation and technology, which includes one of the few thin brick extruded operations in the industry. We are eager to begin offering these exceptional products to customers throughout the Midwest and Canada.”
General Shale’s acquisition of Meridian Brick introduced the company to Southwest U.S markets — which are the country’s largest consumers of brick. Specifically, the company has added six plants in Texas and two plants in Oklahoma to its manufacturing operations. These facilities will now be known as Red River Brick.
RED RIVER BRICK
Red River Brick draws its name from the Red River of the South, which runs throughout a large portion of the Southern U.S. The name recognition extends the brand footprint to include key areas of the region where production sites and distribution centers are located.
“Knowing this would be our company’s introduction into sizable markets in Texas and Oklahoma, we wanted to capitalize on this opportunity through a name that is unique, memorable and regionally relevant,” Smith explains. “The Red River Brick brand consists of more than 60 unique residential colors across eight collections, and provides an architectural offering that will expeditiously position Red River Brick as the preferred brick brand in the Southern and Midwest regions of the U.S.”
Prior to Meridian Brick, General Shale’s most recent acquisition was in 2018, when the company acquired Watsontown Brick Company in Pennsylvania. Now established as a valuable brand under the General Shale network, Watsontown Brick will enhance its brand and product offerings with the addition of the former Meridian Brick plant in Columbia, S.C.
“Bolting on the Columbia facility to the Watsontown brand is a demonstration of our commercial strategy moving forward,” Smith says. “This operation produces beautiful commercial products that are in high demand. Like Watsontown, the Columbia plant has a tremendous ability to match brick to existing structures, and we believe this capability, along with other attributes such as unique textures and contemporary colors, gives our company a competitive advantage in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic metropolitan markets.”
General Shale acquired Columbus Brick Company in 2017. The acquisition expanded the company’s presence in Southern markets and added an industry-unique paper cut product to its portfolio. The Columbus Brick brand will expand to include the former Meridian Brick plant in Phenix City, Ala. This facility produces a residential collection and a commercial series of products that will be offered to customers throughout the South and Midwest regions of the U.S.
“Columbus Brick’s storied history and premium products have been of great benefit to our North American business model,” Smith notes. “We are eager to see this brand expand both its portfolio and geographic reach as we bolt on the Phenix City operation, and we look forward to providing our customers in the South with even more sustainable building solutions for residential and commercial projects.”
Former Meridian Brick plants and distribution centers not included under new brands will be assigned to General Shale’s longest-standing brand — General Shale Brick. The brand’s product offering will grow through additions of plants in Augusta, Ga.; Salisbury, N.C.; Stanton, Ky.; and Terre Haute, Ind. Combined, General Shale Brick will add nearly 70 residential and more than 20 commercial colors to its portfolio.
“The General Shale Brick brand is at the core of our 93-year success,” Smith says. “This name is trusted by many residential and commercial customers, and has carried us to where we are today. I am excited to welcome new employees and customers to General Shale Brick, and position our legacy brand to find success in new regions throughout the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.” Founded in 1928, General Shale is the North American subsidiary of Wienerberger AG of Vienna, Austria, an international provider of building material and infrastructure solutions. General Shale is North America’s largest brick, stone and concrete block manufacturer, featuring 28 production facilities in 17 states and provinces, including a PVC pipe manufacturing operation in Siloam Springs, Ark. General Shale also has a network of 40 sales locations and more than 200 affiliated distributors across North America.