In 1900, John Bichler bought a limestone quarry across from what would later become Escanaba Paper Company (now Verso), and his successors are still using it today. The time-tested structure of the Bichler Concrete & Gravel Company was laid out in 1900. It has helped Escanaba and the surrounding area enjoy more than a century of growth.
Stone from Bichler's quarry was used to construct many of the foundations of the historic buildings in Escanaba that are still in use today, such as the former Saint Patrick's Catholic Church, many businesses along Ludington Street, and many residences in the area. Construction in the early 1900's was not as easy as ordering some cement blocks and buying a few bags of mortar. Bichler had to attain the services of skilled craftsmen and put them to work cutting stone from the quarry to the right size…block by block!
As the company grew older, so did John Bichler. His sons soon obtained ownership and maintained the gravel company as Bichler Brothers. The company saw some new faces before C. Gust Peterson, and his son-in-law, Tom Brayak Sr., bought it in 1965. At that time, the company was divided into Bichler Gravel Company and Bichler Paving Company (doing black top paving). In 1967, they purchased a concrete business and in 1970 the paving division was shut down.
Tom had two sons, Tom Jr. and Terry, who were integrated into the family business when they were teenagers. So when their father and grandfather were about to retire, they were preparing to head the company. The brothers had split the managerial duties according to their interests. Terry supervised the company's employees, dispatched the trucks, and oversaw plant operations. Tom worked more directly with clients as he placed bids, handled pricing, and maintained the office.
In 2018, Bichler Gravel and Concrete Company was sold and the amazing work that the Brayak brothers had put in over the years growing this amazing company to what we know and love today can mark the end of an amazing adventure. The company was sold to Jason Livingston and Cory Pangborn. After the sale of the company, Tom and Terry agreed to stay and mentor the proud new owners of such a wonderful company and the family Bichler Gravel and Concrete Company has grown to be.
Bichler Concrete and Gravel currently specializes in Redimix concrete, sand, gravel, stone, and precast concrete products. They also have a landscaping products division and a selection of construction tools. The company offers its services to residential, commercial, and industrial markets. All of their services are offered year-round (with the exception of landscaping products). There is snow removal and sanding in the winter months.
The company has changed ownership several times, but Bichler Gravel and Concrete Company still offers the reliable service it was built on…only now it has more products and more than a century of experience.
"We produce a good product, try to give good services to our customers, and have good employees."
Terry Brayak on the company's longevity
(The Daily Press - 3-23-2000)