From Nothing — A Successful Business
By Kerry Clines, Senior Editor
The small town of Socorro, N.M., just south of Albuquerque, is the home of A1 Quality Redi-Mix, Inc., owned by Canda and Pablo Aguilar, Sr. and operated by the family. It’s a thriving company, consisting of a quarry, a ready-mix plant, and an asphalt plant, but it wasn’t always like that. It was quite different in the beginning.
Canda and Pablo started out with nothing but a small dump truck back in 1953. Canda would hold a screen in the back of the dump truck to screen the sand, and Pablo would haul the screened material to people in the area.
“Over the next eight years, they purchased two more trucks to haul manganese from the Black Canyon Mine located in the Socorro area,” says Steven Aguilar, one of Canda and Pablo’s sons. In 1967, when the Black Canyon Mine closed down, the Aguilars bought their first diesel dump truck, which they used to deliver products to other companies.
In 1969, the Aguilars bought their first screening plant and started providing sand and gravel to two concrete plants in Socorro and one in Belen. After hauling product to a lumberyard in Belen one day, the truck driver, Canda’s brother, mentioned that the lumberyard had purchased a new concrete batch plant and that its old plant was no longer in use. Pablo made arrangements to purchase it.
“They picked up and delivered the plant and cement silo on a Saturday,” Steven says. “The concrete batch plant was set up immediately, but the cement silo was not, due to the fact they needed a crane, and funding was limited.”
The Aguilars also bought a cement truck from the lumberyard that needed work. Once the truck was repaired, they began selling concrete. But, since the cement silo hadn’t been erected, they had to physically move the bags of cement into the plant. Canda had to go out and buy sacks of cement throughout the day. They continued to work this way for a year until they could afford to rent a crane to erect the cement silo. Once the cement silo was in place, A1 Quality Redi-Mix was born.
As time passed, the Aguilars purchased property 10 miles north of Socorro, in Polvadera, where they extracted sand and gravel. “Dad and Mom ran the business,” Steven says. “Dad was the mechanic, batcher, and delivery man, while Mom was the secretary, accountant, and parts runner. Before long, Uncle George [Pablo’s brother], my brother, Paul, and I became employees of the business.”
Business was steady, and two years later, a full-time secretary and four additional employees were hired. “We grandsons all worked when we were little, when we were 7, 8, and 9 years old,” says Jason Aguilar, Steven’s son and plant manager at the quarry. “I was always there, even at 3 in the morning. Sometimes they’d leave without me, and I’d bawl my eyes out.”
In 2000, the Aguilars bought a computerized batching plant and 200 additional acres in Socorro where they could extract sand, gravel, and crusher fines. They now have two screening plants and two crusher spreads — one in each location. They expanded their business to include a hot-mix plant as well. The company grew and prospered and now provides full-time employment for 26 people.
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