For Putaruru concrete producer Andrew (Bags) Begbie the sale of his family business, Begbie Readimix Ltd, to Steve and Kellie Bowers of Bowers Brothers Concrete Ltd is a source of both pride and relief.

Andrew began his concreting career with Grayson Concrete Ltd making precast elements for projects such as the Huntly Power Station. After 9 years’ service with Graysons Andrew decided to branch out on his own and purchased the first of two Kairangis to site batch concrete for the local farming community.

By 1991, following discussions with David Swap of J Swap Contractors, Andrew bought his first truck and set up a plant on the current site in Market St where all the cement was hand loaded. By 1996 as the workload increased Andrew and his wife Ruthana set-up a bulk batching plant and against the advice of their accountant purchased a second truck - Begbie Readimix Ltd was formed. Along with David Swap, whom Andrew considers a mentor, the start-up (and ongoing) success of Begbie Readimix was due in part to the assistance gained from Don Mahoney of Supacrete Concrete, who at that time was himself in the formative years of his ready mixed concrete career. Fred Thomas, then of Milburn Cement, was also a strong influence on Andrew.

In 1998 Begbie Readimix joined the NZRMCA and became a certified plant under the plant audit scheme. Andrew has commented many times that being an audited plant was crucial to maintaining quality standards. On the completion of a fitter/welder apprenticeship Andrew and Ruthana’s son Anaru joined the company in 1999 to ease the workload, while also allowing the proud parents to travel to England in 2004 to watch their other son, Mana, play rugby. On his return Anaru told his father that he would not be needed as much in the day-to-day running of the business. The ‘demotion’ allowed Andrew to focus on ensuring quality concrete, which the business prides itself on, as well as assist Ruthana on engaging with issues facing local iwi.

Arriving back in New Zealand in 2005 Mana, a qualified diesel mechanic, joined Begbie Readimix with the task of maintaining the plant and trucks, and filling in as a driver when required. The truck originally purchased in 1991 is still a part of the 4 truck fleet, a testament to the time and effort invested across all aspects of the business.

The tight competitive and economic environment over more recent years led Andrew to assess his market position, and conclude that he had to “get bigger or get out”. After much discussion and consultation Andrew chose the latter.

Andrew is pleased with the manner in which the business sale has been handled, with key staff being retained by Bowers Bros, including Mana and drivers. Anaru has completed a post graduate degree in business management, and has relocated to Napier to pursue a career in shipping management.

After 34 years in business Andrew leaves the ready mix industry with no regrets and is humbled by the support from suppliers and customers alike, and knowing that Begbie Readimix has “put kai on lots of tables.”

Taken from the July 2013 NZRMCA Newsletter
Images - Begbie Readimix