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ARCHIVED  December 1, 1997

LongmontÕs GoldenÕs Cos. retains traditional values

LONGMONT — More than 93 years ago, when this city was a small village with a railroad stop, it had entrepreneurs with their eyes on the future.Vane Golden, founder of Golden˜s Cos., was one.
In 1904, Golden started a transport, hauling and moving business in Longmont, delivering freight from trains, moving furniture and supplies, and cleaning ash pits. He hauled rock from quarries, specializing in aggregate and concrete supply.
With just one truck, he started Golden Transfer & Taxi Co.
"He had a livery stable, and he hauled just about everything," said Stewart Golden, Golden˜s grandson and current chairman of the board of Golden˜s Cos.
As the business grew, its founder began looking around for more opportunities. Because the company was already in the gravel-hauling business, Golden decided to build a concrete batch plant in the 1940s. He also started buying land along the St. Vrain River.
The first batch plant was at the company˜s current headquarters on South Sunset Street, where business was done on a cash basis, said R.V. "Reggie" Golden, president of the company.
In the early 1960s, Golden split the business between his two children, Vernon and Maxine. His daughter got the moving and storage half, and his son, the rock-hauling, gravel and quarry business.
Reggie Golden, Stewart˜s son, is the fourth generation of the Golden family to run the company. Stewart started working for his dad cutting hay when he was 14. Reggie, following the tradition, began working for his dad sweeping floors when he was 13.
"I wasn˜t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I was born with an opportunity," he said. "My dad left me alone to run the business. He let me make mistakes, but he was there if I needed help.˜˜
In 1970, the company had 50 employees. Today, the company records more than $40 million in sales annually and has 220 employees, seven permanent concrete batch plants, five portable batch plants, one quarry and one gravel mine.
It also owns more than 100 cement trucks and 2,000 acres of land, including some farmland.
"We run cows, and we do some farming,˜˜ said Reggie Golden. "The land we own is all around here (Longmont), and we still purchase land on occasion, but now we drill first to test the rock for concrete purposes before we buy it.˜˜
When Vernon Golden looked at Longmont in the 1940s, he saw more than just roads and sidewalks — he saw a city in progress, his family says.
"Some people build houses, some people build roads, and some people build communities,˜˜ said Stewart Golden. "Vernon was born here in Longmont; he always said, Ôtake care of Longmont˜ because it was home. With the reputation we have established with our customers, there are still a few deals you can do with a handshake. Vernon and his colleagues put together little industrial parks in town — they did so much and asked for nothing.˜˜
The cement company patriarch loved to fish. He always kept a fishing rod in his trunk, just in case he ended up some place where he could wet a line. He was fond of telling his friends, "If you are too busy to fish — you are too busy!˜˜
One day, Vernon Golden found himself in conversation with Ann Matlack, a former owner of the Longmont Daily Times-Call. Matlack asked him if there was a way to build a bike trail from Longmont to Lyons.
Soon, the wheels were in motion for what is now the St. Vrain Greenway and Golden Ponds Park and Nature Area.
"In 1988, we donated 120 acres of St. Vrain Creek river corridor property to the City of Longmont to be developed into a public park,˜˜ Stewart said. "It was about 100 feet on each side of the river.˜˜
The trails and park areas begin at Boston Avenue behind Golden˜s cement plant and take users to stocked fishing ponds on the west side of Hover Road. City of Longmont officials contributed picnic tables and upgraded some areas along the river.
Some land along the river was donated by Longmont˜s Kanemoto family; other land was traded for other areas to complete greenway trails.
Vernon Golden did not live to see the trails completed. But his commitment to serve his community has continued at Golden˜s.
"Since the very beginning, we˜ve had a strong commitment to be a good neighbor, to be good stewards of our environment and to be involved in community activities," Reggie Golden said. "We have continued to enhance that land along the greenway on each end of town on all the property that we own or control.˜˜
Land along the St. Vrain donated by the Golden family would be worth $20,000 an acre in today˜s dollars, Reggie Golden said.
Golden˜s philosophy has won many long-time customers. Some of Golden˜s customers date back almost 40 years.
"The Pratt Management Co. has been one of our customers for about that long,˜˜ Reggie Golden said.
The proof of the company˜s success is in the numbers. It has grown 700 percent since 1991, when Golden˜s won a contract with Denver International Airport.
"We were one of two batch plants at DIA, and we poured over 500,000 yards at DIA,˜˜ Reggie Golden said. "It was a bit of a surprise that we grew as fast as we did, but we were ready for the growth. Since our growth rate has continued even though the airport is completed, we have attracted really good people here, and our management team is great.
"It is an advantage to be a family-owned business with the family history behind us, because our business is based on personal service. We still have some of the same customers from the 1950s. We have lived on Vernon˜s reputation, but today we are establishing a new tradition, and we are looking forward.˜˜

LONGMONT — More than 93 years ago, when this city was a small village with a railroad stop, it had entrepreneurs with their eyes on the future.Vane Golden, founder of Golden˜s Cos., was one.
In 1904, Golden started a transport, hauling and moving business in Longmont, delivering freight from trains, moving furniture and supplies, and cleaning ash pits. He hauled rock from quarries, specializing in aggregate and concrete supply.
With just one truck, he started Golden Transfer & Taxi Co.
"He had a livery stable, and he hauled just about everything," said Stewart Golden, Golden˜s grandson and current chairman…

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