Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Supplier Creates New Brick Blend to Reflect Consumer Interests

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Supplier Creates New Brick Blend to Reflect Consumer Interests

Article excerpt

John Spence hopes that Winewood attains the same level of popularity someday that Highland Grey has now. It may take a couple of years.

"You try to create something that's new and fresh that hasn't gotten out to the marketplace yet. You try to be the first one to catch that trend, so other people will chase you," said the manager of the Acme Brick plant in far north Oklahoma City. "We've got several competitors in the area and we're always trying to out- think each other."

Most people have seen his creative efforts, even if they don't realize it. Highland Grey has been one of the plant's most popular brick blends for home construction for several years. Spence's plant annually produces about 30 million bricks of that color mix alone, to say nothing of the dozens of other colors that are baked there and shipped to construction sites nationwide.

Spence and sales manager Jay Cox have only recently started getting feedback on Winewood from the construction industry. Sample panels of the brick are still being sent across to Acme Brick sales offices in Texas, Kansas, Colorado, Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana, the main reach of the Oklahoma City plant.

Management at each of the Fort Worth-based company's 24 plants is responsible for creating their own brick blends to keep the market interested. Spence and Cox try to come up with new blends about twice per year. Cox, as the sales manager over five offices, pays close attention to clients and shifts in market trends, and then brainstorms with Spence. The Winewood blend reflects consumer interest that's shifting to deeper earth tones of dark red and a brown that's almost black, Spence said.

"Highland Grey has been our best seller, and we know that at some point in time its popularity is going to decrease," Spence said. "So we're looking for the next Highland Grey to keep our plant running at full capacity, and through sales to generate a profit for our company. …

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