For the past 50 years the name Ashby has been synonymous with ready mix concrete in Canterbury, what few people know is the name has been around a lot longer than that.
In 1924 Ashby Bros, Fred, Jack, Don and Toby began business as agricultural contractors all living together on a six acre block of land in Bryndwr in Christchurch's western suburbs. It wasn't until 1929 that they opened their first aggregate quarry in Wairakei road in Bryndwr and with the purchase of their first crushing and screening pant began delivering aggregate to a growing Christchurch City by horse and dray. The growth of the city created the opportunity to further grow and expand the quarrying business. In 1931 this necessitated the purchase of a larger crushing plant along with two trucks and by 1933 the fleet had grown to five.
It was 1961 when Graeme (Fred's son) and John (Don's son) become involved in the business, and it was two years later in 1963 that the first "ready mix" plant was set up in Wairakei road next to the quarry. Thinking ahead as they only had a short lease and dwindling resources at the Wairakei road site, they planned a new plant on a 90 acre site on John's road. By the 1970's they operated a fleet of 24 concrete trucks and 12 shingle trucks.
The reason for starting the business back in 1929 was to support the residential market and roading industry which has been the mainstay of the business to this day. The company has however changed hands throughout the tenure of its existence, with Ashby's Ready Mixed now owned by AML Limited part of the HW Richardson Group.
50 years on and technology in the ready mix concrete industry is a far cry from those first "all in" aggregate mixes once used. The newest and latest concrete plant which is now four years old is very much state of the art. The new plant is capable of loading a concrete truck every two minutes with an accuracy of less than 2% variation from the mix design. With an arsenal of over 1,500 mixes there is a mix for every occasion or need. The plant is located within a conservation reserve, over an aquifer recharge area and makes less than 45 dB of noise when producing concrete. The plant is as environmentally friendly as is possible and became a refuge for staff displaced or affected by the recent earthquakes due to the strength of design and self-supporting nature.
With the tragedies of the past years behind us Ashby's have been planning the extra support required for the rebuilding Christchurch. With 14 new trucks entering service in 2012 and another 20 trucks being built for 2013, Ashby Ready Mixed will have grown to a fleet of over 70 trucks and have the ability to deliver enough concrete for more than 30 new house floors daily. Following the philosophy of the company founders to look after the "small fellas" Ashby's Ready Mixed is the residential choice and will continue to help Canterbury Rebuild for the future.