For 90 years, Pine Hall Brick has manufactured the building blocks of our society. Yet, this strong and innovative manufacturer finds itself at risk today. It has weathered difficult economic times in its history, including the 2009 recession. The collapse of the housing market eliminated a significant portion of its customer base, causing a 70 percent decrease in its business. Even in the face of a tough market, business had started to increase, but the uncertainty caused by the fiscal cliff has stalled its recovery.
Pine Hall Brick President W. Fletcher Steele explained the difficulties, saying, “The uncertainty in the economy, caused by the fiscal cliff, and overall negative business climate has our customers hanging on and holding back on orders. We’re looking to regain our footing, but like our customers, we have no idea what to plan for.”
Founded in 1922 by Flake Steele, Sr., the company has been family owned and operated for three generations. Since its inception, Pine Hall Brick has been a leader, not only in manufacturing bricks for homes and offices, but for paving bricks as well. Over the decades, the company has prospered, becoming the largest supplier of clay pavers in the United States. It has constructed new, technology-driven plants and employed hundreds of workers. Headquartered since the beginning in Winston-Salem, N.C., Pine Hall Brick is a model example of how manufacturing in the United States builds communities and provides strong career opportunities. For generations, Pine Hall Brick has taken care of its employees, who have returned the favor with some of the best products on the market.
Pine Hall Brick, by all measures, has done business the right way—investing in its company and searching out new markets, all while leading its industry. The fiscal cliff is punishing manufacturers across the United States who have done the same. If there is no action, these companies will be hung out to dry. Massive tax increases, significantly decreased consumer spending, a further weakened housing market and another recession all threaten to derail our economic recovery and devastate businesses.
Manufacturers put everything they have into their businesses; they take pride in their work and have pride in their country. They have thrived in a positive business climate before and can do so again if Washington can put pro-growth policies in place. Fletcher Steele echoes this sentiment. “I hope Washington can put an agreement together that would put an end to this game of chicken. I know that if they do that, Pine Hall Brick can thrive again. If we plunge back into a recession, I really don’t know what the future will hold.”
Click here to check out the Pine Hall Brick operation at work.