|FEATURED MEMBER: The Barton Group
Family-owned and operated Barton Mines has been quarrying granite and garnet for more than 125 years near North Creek. It began by introducing garnet as a sandpaper abrasive, and remains a leading supplier of garnet abrasives for applications as diverse as abrasive waterjet cutting, glass finishing, sandblasting, and coated abrasives. The firm also supplies large, Garnet GemĘ slabs for countertops and floor tiles, as well as landscape boulders. In fact, the quarry produced the cornerstone for the Freedom Tower, the planned replacement building for the World Trade Center.
And while the production of modern-day abrasives and quarrying remains the Barton Group's core business, its drive to establish the Adirondack Wind Energy Park on the site of a former garnet mine on the north side of Gore Mountain in the Town of Johnsburg has garnered a lot of attention lately. Vision asked the Barton Group Chairman Charles Bracken, Jr.: Why expand Barton into the energy business?
"We need to constantly evaluate our operating environment and find better ways to serve the interests of our shareholders, customers, employees, and community. The wind resource we have on Gore Mountain can potentially provide clean renewable energy to not only Barton but also to the North Creek and Warren County area.
Electricity costs represent a large component of the total cost of the garnet abrasives produced at our operations near North Creek. The recent increases in the cost of electricity impact our ability to compete against foreign garnet producers. Adirondack Wind Energy Park (www.adirondackwind.com) represents both a potential hedge against future electricity cost increases and a commitment to being a good corporate citizen by addressing the energy and environmental challenges faced by everyone. By developing our former mine site, with its unique attributes, into a source of clean sustainable energy, everyone wins."
Barton has also attracted local headlines for their purchase of 2 Warren Street in downtown Glens Falls. We asked the chairman: What attracted Barton to that particular property?
"We had been searching for a location that would support our current needs and future growth for over two years. Barton is an advocate of the revitalization efforts for the city and looks forward to being able to contribute to these efforts by preserving a landmark building.
While several downtown buildings were seriously considered, Two Warren Street best suited our needs. This building, which was constructed in the same era as the founding of Barton over 128 years ago, is also an interesting cultural fit. Barton has evolved over its long history into a modern international company while preserving its rich cultural history. Two Warren Street, following the renovation of its interior spaces, will have evolved into a modern building on the inside while maintaining its historic exterior facade."
Reports indicate the move will bring in 30 new jobs: Are these additional jobs for the company? Please describe what activities take place at the Barton headquarters and indicate what kind of new jobs will be added.
Finally, what else is on the horizon for Barton?