pallets, shelves, pebble, gravel, rocks

The Next Generation of Rock Yards

Fullerton is not your average rock yard. Referring to the location’s 40,000-square-foot warehouse, David Brodmann, Operations Manager for Southwest Boulder & Stone, noted that “This yard is a new experience for customers looking to purchase natural stone.” The difference was noted immediately at the Fullerton’s October 15th opening, where refreshments were served in the spacious and comfortable facility.

“This yard is a new experience for customers looking to purchase natural stone.”

– David Brodmann

Rock Goes Vertical

What’s unique about Fullerton, Southwest Boulder’s seventh superstore, said Brodmann, is the arrangement of palletized material on racks: “Much like if you walked into Costco or Home Depot. We have a steel setup with load beams. There’s equipment that moves things around and pulls things off the shelves.”

This “vertical rock yard”, which just might end up being the prototype for future superstores, came to Southwest Boulder’s owner Mike McLeod and his son, Andrew, as they scouted for a new Orange County location. Rock or stone yards tend to be in out-of-the-way-places, because boulders, rubble, mulch and more take up a lot of space. While this is fine for contractors, Southwest Boulder knew their DIY and homeowner clientele wanted something closer to home. 

Southwest Boulder Fullerton, fullerton, SWB
Southwest Boulder Fullerton, fullerton, SWB

Bridging the Gap with Warehouses

But space close to the beaten path – especially in Orange County – can come at a premium. “You’re not going to be able to find open storage property like you can find a warehouse,” observed Brodmann. Located just off E Orangethorpe Ave and S State College Blvd, warehouses are the only solution that places the business closer to its customers. “It was the best opening we had of any location thus far. Transactions and foot traffic get busier every day. It’s not a surprise, but,” he said, “a happy event.”

pebble, rocks, gravel
landscaping, supplies, weed barrier, gravel lok, yard tools

Fountain Displays Go Indoors

Other benefits to the indoor location are climate control (picking stone can heat up in SoCal) and the ability to build elaborate displays, like an extensive fountain display showcasing custom stone fountains and furniture. For more info on stone fabrication including services available, check out our blog post now.  According to Brodmann, “the massive fountain display holds more working fountains than we have at any other location in one single pool.” Unique fountains have always been a part of Southwest Boulder’ss creative focus. “You can buy a fountain that’s on display,” said Brodmann, or “you can go out and pick a boulder. We have the ability to make one-of-a-kind fountains and water-features out of any boulder you choose.” Once a boulder is chosen, it gets sent to our corporate facility in Fallbrook, where “our massive diamond-wire saw cuts boulders up to 12′ wide by 6-7′ wide!”

rock, fountain, boulder, water feature
rock, fountain, boulder, water feature

As well as being a set-piece, the fountain display is expected to serve another purpose. “I’ve talked to a couple of local real estate brokers who’ve asked to hold real estate meetings at our location. I think we’d be missing out if we didn’t partner with our local chambers of commerce. We need those relationships. Let them know we help improve home values by beautifying the place.”

Adjustments are still being made to the warehouse footprint to create a drive-through loading lane. Mike McLeod’s drive-through vision features a lane “for will-call orders where you never have to leave your car,” said Brodmann.

Southwest Boulder Fullerton, fullerton, SWB, conference room
Southwest Boulder Fullerton, fullerton, SWB

Bulk Bins Still Thrive

But for lovers of the traditional rock yard, never fear: Fullerton still has plenty of outside bins and standing boulders to look at. Popular products at the Fullerton store include Mexican Beach Pebbles, Smoky White Ice ¾-inch and Desert Gold DG, but there’s so much more. “We carry an enormous quantity of boulders, pebbles, rubble, etc. Customers will come in, we take them around and show them things and they end up buying what they weren’t expecting to buy, because of seeing new and unexpected materials.”

When that happens, said Brodmann, “DIY projects become totally unique and exciting. I think people will get excited about their own creation. When you do it that way, there’s a history behind it. And at Southwest Boulder,” he concluded, “we love to be at the heart of that.”

Southwest Boulder Fullerton, fullerton, SWB