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Officials: Indiana's limestone industry on upswing

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The limestone industry is thriving again with many companies reporting orders are up following a drop in business during the recession, a trade association spokesman says.

Indiana Limestone Institute executive director Todd Schnatzmeyer says the industry received a bit of a setback when the Indiana Limestone Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year, telling The Herald-Times that some people started thinking the entire industry was in trouble. But he said all the companies he's spoken with report backlogs of orders from customers.

Bybee Stone Co. Inc. President Will Bybee said that's the case at his business.

"The industry is very healthy," he said. "I'm super busy right now."

Indiana Limestone Co. has been known for several decades for supplying limestone to the Empire State Building and the Pentagon. The company is now under new ownership after going through bankruptcy.

Inside sales manager Nate Kelley says the company's business has been steadily increasing since the recession, and the nation's economic health is really what determines the health of the limestone industry.

Any construction industry is always subject to economic ups and downs, Schnatzmeyer said. Bybee said while everyone was affected differently, in general, everybody is doing less than they were prior to 2008.

"There was a lot of construction going on and then all of a sudden the bottom dropped out," he said.

Bybee acknowledges things likely won't go back to the way they were in the first half of the 20th century but believes there will always be some people who want what they build to last.

"If it's properly designed and installed, those buildings will last for hundreds of years," he said. "I think there will always be a market for that."

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