Outback Materials, a fixture of the Mountain Area business community for nearly 50 years, is expanding to Fresno and will provide construction on California’s High-Speed Rail project.
Outback started in Bass Lake as Corral Ready Mix and has specialized in supplying concrete, aggregate, rock and sand to customers in the foothill and mountain regions around the Central Valley.
Originally opened in 1968 by Nick Goldmand and Dennis Flammang, the business was bought by Curtis Lovett in 2004.
Outback Materials is putting the finishing touches on its new $3-million concrete batch plant in northwest Fresno and Lovett expects the facility to be open for business March 11, with a ribbon cutting and open house that day.
Outback already operates five batch plants in the Valley and will hire as many as 25 workers to staff the new Fresno plant.
The company’s entry into the Fresno marketplace comes after it won a contract to supply concrete for the initial segment of the High-Speed Rail.
As a Certified Small Business, Lovett said Outback secured the bullet train contract, in part, because the Rail Authority is required to work with smaller, local and minority-owned businesses.
In a recent article in the Fresno Business Journal, Lovett said, “We’re a small business but the High-Speed Rail contract has given us the opportunity to come into Fresno and compete with the large multi-nationals.”
Although Outback’s customers include the California Department of Transportation, the federal Bureau of Land Management and the National Parks Service, the majority of his company’s work continues to be smaller, single-truck orders.
“We serve residential, commercial and do-it-yourself customers and are really focused on providing a level of service reserved for larger customers to the smaller guys and some of the local companies and contractors doing smaller projects and backyard work,” Lovett said.
He said his family has been in the concrete business for three generations. His grandfather, Peter Stodola, was a concrete finisher in Canada who founded his own company supplying cement to homebuilders.
His father, David Lovett, spent more than 30 years working as chief operating officer for a large multinational concrete company.
Before purchasing Outback, Lovett worked as a manager for Standard Concrete Products in Southern California.
Today, Lovett operates batch plants in Auberry, Friant, Mariposa, Oakhurst and O’Neals, with 50 employees. The company’s business office is located in Coarsegold.
“We’ve been battle-tested in the mountains,” Lovett said. “Our drivers know how to operate on all roads and in challenging conditions.”
Outback’s new Fresno facility is located on a 7-acre parcel just off Bullard Avenue at 5829 N. Golden State Blvd.
The plant will be capable of producing 30 truckloads an hour, and Lovett recently spent another $3 million to purchase 18 new mixer trucks.
“We’re one of the last family-owned businesses of its kind in the area,” Lovett said. “Most Ready Mix companies are now owned and operated by multinational corporations.”
Lovett added his move into the Valley was inspired, in part, by his grandfather.
“I really wanted to own my own business and be able to make decisions that are best for my customers and the local business community instead of getting my directions from some manager in another country,” he said.
“It’s great to be able to deliver that personal touch and do things for your customers and employees,” Lovett continued. “We’re all about giving the customers what they want. We’re in a better position to do that than the larger corporations.”