General Shale, Meridian assimilation optimizes legacy, spurs new brands

Johnson City, Tenn.-based General Shale, the top producer of clay brick and sustainable building solutions in North America, has adopted the Canada Brick, Michigan Brick and Red River Brick brands to succeed the production and sales locations of Meridian Brick, acquired in fall 2021. The company is also assigning established and highly regarded General Shale brands to former Meridian Brick sites, strengthening Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southern U.S. market portfolios. Leading those brands are Watsontown Brick, Columbus Brick and General Shale Brick.

“This announcement fully reveals our strategy in acquiring Meridian Brick,” says General Shale President and CEO Charles Smith. “Now that we have been established as the largest manufacturer in the industry, our footprint encompasses many regions and covers a very passionate and diverse customer base. Our goal is to connect with these customers through meaningful regional associations, while also reinforcing their familiarity with historical brands that continue to resonate today.”

Canada Brick. Production facilities in Aldershot and Burlington, Ontario are rebranded as Canada Brick. The name resurrects a banner used several decades ago and lays claim to a rich heritage of legacy craftsmanship in the Canadian marketplace—specifically in Ontario and Quebec. Canada Brick joins Arriscraft, the stone products group of General Shale, in Canadian operations.

“Reinstating the Canada Brick name provides opportunities to grow our Canadian business through new customer relationships,” observes Smith. “Furthermore, we are now able to provide U.S. customers in the Northeast with a variety of commercial products that gives us a competitive edge in architectural and specialty projects.”

Michigan Brick. A Corunna, Mich. production facility is branded as Michigan Brick, establishing the company as the leading provider of brick solutions in the Midwest. Similar to Canada Brick, the name has a history that spans decades and is still regarded as a quality producer of residential brick.

“We are making a statement with reintroducing the Michigan Brick name,” Smith says. “The products the brand is known for reflect General Shale’s mission to provide the highest quality of masonry materials through innovation and technology, which includes one of the few thin brick extruded operations in the industry. We are eager to begin offering these exceptional products to customers throughout the Midwest and Canada.”

Red River Brick. The Meridian Brick deal introduces General Shale to Southwest U.S. markets encompassing the country’s largest consumers of clay brick. Two Oklahoma and six Texas production facilities joining General Shale will operate at Red River Brick. The brand draws its name from a key waterway running throughout a large portion of the Southern U.S. The name recognition extends the brand footprint to include key areas of the region where production sites and distribution centers are located.

“Knowing this would be our company’s introduction into sizable markets in Texas and Oklahoma, we wanted to capitalize on this opportunity through a name that is unique, memorable and regionally relevant,” Smith explains. “The Red River Brick brand consists of more than 60 unique residential colors across eight collections, and provides an architectural offering that will expeditiously position Red River Brick as the preferred brand in the Southern and Midwest regions of the U.S.”

Watsontown Brick. Ahead of the Meridian Brick deal, General Shale’s most recent acquisition, Watsontown Brick Co. of Pennsylvania, was in 2018. Now established as a valuable brand under the General Shale network, Watsontown Brick will enhance its profile and product offerings with the addition of the former Meridian Brick plant in Columbia, S.C.

“Bolting on the Columbia facility to the Watsontown brand is a demonstration of our commercial strategy moving forward,” Smith says. “Like Watsontown, the Columbia plant has a tremendous ability to match brick to existing structures, and we believe this capability, along with other attributes such as unique textures and contemporary colors, gives our company a competitive advantage in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic metropolitan markets.”

Columbus Brick. General Shale acquired Columbus Brick Co. in 2017, expanding the company’s presence in Southern markets and adding an industry-unique paper cut product to its portfolio. The Columbus Brick brand will expand to include the former Meridian Brick plant in Phenix City, Ala. The facility produces residential and commercial product series that will be offered to customers throughout the South and Midwest regions of the U.S.

“Columbus Brick’s history and premium products have been of great benefit to our North American business model,” Smith notes. “We are eager to see this brand expand both its portfolio and geographic reach as we bolt on the Phenix City operation, and look forward to providing our customers in the South with even more sustainable building solutions for residential and commercial projects.”

General Shale Brick. Former Meridian Brick plants and distribution centers not included under new brands will be assigned to the namesake and longest-standing brand. The General Shale Brick product offering will grow through addition of plants in Augusta, Ga.; Salisbury, N.C.; Stanton, Ky.; and Terre Haute, Ind. Combined, General Shale Brick will add nearly 70 residential and more than 20 commercial colors to its portfolio.

“The General Shale Brick brand is at the core of our 93-year success,” Smith affirms. “This name is trusted by many residential and commercial customers, and has carried us to where we are today. I am excited to welcome new employees and customers to General Shale Brick, and position our legacy brand to find success in new regions throughout the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.”