Greeley Daily Tribune from Greeley, Colorado on April 16, 1973 · Page 56
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Greeley Daily Tribune from Greeley, Colorado · Page 56

Greeley, Colorado
Issue Date:
Monday, April 16, 1973
Page 56
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A-20 GHEELEY (Colo.) TRIBUNE Mon., April 16,1973 Stonebroker makes Dacono a booming town In case you're fresh out of Horalio Alger Stories, consider Dacono's Sloneco, Inc., and Phil Stonehraker, Ihe firm's head man, chief pyrotechnics expert and carpenter. Seven years ago, Stonebraker -- then ago 30 -- stopped working for somebody else, stepped out of America's areo- space i n d u s t r y and began moving toward whal he is now: the fireworks and explosives magnate of Weld County. Located a mile west and a mile south of Dacono, Sloneco, Inc., consists of a cluster of 18 small buildings. Within those buildings, a wide range of firecrackers and explosive devices are manufactured. During a recent interview, Stonebraker halted the task at hand -- building wooden explosives crales for an Army contract shipment -- and sat down to explain Sloneco, Inc. Holding a civil engineering SHELLCRACKER ASSEMBLY -- Larry Johnston of Dacono works on the manufacture of "shellcrackers" at Stoneco, Inc. The company makes upwards of a quarter of a million shellcrackers annually. Shotgun shells carrying a firecracker instead of shot, shellcrackers are used to scare away birds and animals which pose a nuisance or safety threat. (Tribune photo) degree from Colorado State University and w i t h some master's degree work behind him in aeronautical e n g i n e e r i n g , S t o n e b r a k e r worked in the aerospace industry for conlractors on NASA's Mercury and Apollo space-flight series. Then in 196B, his father and brother, Bill, convinced him to come in with them on their T2- year-old pyrotechnics business. They now operate Rocky Mountain Fireworks Co. in Denver the distribution end of the operation -- while he heads Ihe manufacturing side, Stoneco. And business -- pardon the expression -- has boomed. In 1966, Sloneco grossed $13,000, had a payroll of about $6,000 and operated out of a single old farm house on the site southwest of Dacono. This year, Slonebraker expects to gross $375,000 and the firm carries about 15 full-time employes with an expected 1973 payroll of $71,000. Stoneco also has created a "cottage" industry in households of the nearby Dacono- Frederick-Erie area. About 20 families there work for the firm at home assembling the paper tubes used in the manufacture of firecrackers and explosives. "Instead of eating popcorn while they walch TV, they sit around and make lubes," says Stonehraker. There are three distinct areas of produclion at Stoneco: fireworks for over-the-counter sale and for larger-scale city fireworks displays (the 4th of July display at Island Grove Park has included some Stoneco products), noisy explosive devices for bird and animal dispersal and illumination and explosive devices for the military. One shell among these latter types first was bought by the Army for simulating the sound of battle in training exercises. But it later found a more pragmatic use. During the Vietnam War, Viet Cong troops were flushed from tunnels by the noise and euncussion of the shell. But perhaps Ihe most intriguing Stoneco products are the "shellcracker" and the "Scram" rocket. ·· The shellcracker is a shotgun shell containing a firecracker instead of shot. The- rocket operates on the same principle, but has a range of 1,100 feet compared to the shellcracker's 150 feet. i Both are used to scare away birds and animals from farm fields, airport runways and other places where (hey are nuisances or safety threats. But it was from the shell- cracker ' t h a i Stonebraker learned U.S. patents can be circumvented and costly to defend. From experience, he says it costs about $30,000 to defend a patent, with the outcome not necessarily certain. During (he early years of Stoneco,. the shellcracker was patented. "But for just 25 cents for postage, Colt Industries got the i n f o r m a t i o n on the shellcracker from the government." Colt, he says, made one change in a fuse and began - marketing its own shellcracker. Stonebraker, however was able to undersell them and has taken back the shellcracker market, he adds. He now holds only two patents, but has filed proprietary i n f o r m a t i o n on seven other production items. Stoneco distributes to all 50 states and exports to seven foreign countries, including European and Far East countries as well as Australia Stonehraker served as a state representative in 1971-72 during the 48th General Assembly before deciding not. to seek another term. He and his wife, Faith, live in Longmont with their three sons and a daughter. .MR. PRESIDENT -- Phil Stonebraker, president of Dacono's Stoneco, Inc., talks about the growth of his fireworks and explosives business. From its beginning seven years ago, Stoneco's gross sales income has grown nearly thirty-fold, to an expected $375,000 this year. (Tribune photo) STONECO FIREWORKS- Mary Daum of Stoneco, Inc., shows one of the line of Roman candles the firm manufactures. In the early days of the seven-year-old firm, before production became too large, cones for Stoneco Roman candles were yarn spools purchased from a Denver knitting mill. (Tribune photo) When is a sale a sale By JOYCE ROARK Copley News Service With prices increasing so rapidly nowadays, how do you We have been refreshing the pauses of Greeley people with the real thing for 67 years ... The Greeley mow when an item is really a good buy? The best way to get "good buys" and save money is to shop sales. You have to be very selective, however, because some sales offer only medium quality products or items of doubtful value. There are numerous examples of stores exaggerating the true value of items. A store may advertise an item by brand name, style, etc., at $15.95 with the regular' price quoted at $23.95. Chances are that another store a short distance away will have exactly the same item advertised for $15.P5 regular price. It's not uncommon for otores to initially sell an item at a much inflated price so that the item can have a higher percentage reduction at a sale later on. Cotmtrti ^^^ m.m s*. ra *r K= ·»" -^ MARKET WE GUARANTEE BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE During the past five years, we have been a part of this growing, progressing area. It has been our goal to serve you better thnn any food store you might visit. Our meat market features over-lhe counter meats where you can get the exact cut you want. Our dairy case is stocked with the finest products -as is our whole store. Our fresh fruits and vegetables are worth driving a little farther for. We may not be the largest store, but we have a fine variety, well displayed, at competitive prices, so that we may offer you better customer service. We are grateful for your patronage in the 'past and pledge you our best efforts in the future. Highway fi5 LaSalle, C.olomdo BOTTLING COMPANY DONALD R. FINE, Manager 1200 Seventh Avenue Coca-Cola/Tab/Sprite/ Fresca/ Fanta SMOC FIT CO. We're putting our best foot forward TO BETTER SERVE A GREATER WELD COUNTY Since 1968 we've been serving the Greeley area with quality footwear for the entire family. Our recently remodeled store is filled with the shoe fashions of today. We pride ourselves in tiffing shoes correctly, so you get the most possible comfort and wear. We are only one part of a company that's served the midwest since 1910 in 10 states with 67 stores -- 5 of those in Colorado -- Ft. Collins, Longmont, Loveland, Ft. Morgan and Greeley. We promise to keep putting our best foot forward for Greeley and Weld County. THESE FAMOUS BRAND NAMES TO CHOOSE FROM: FOR MEN Nunn Bush Dexter Morgan Quinn Hush Puppies Red Wing Wrangler Boots Puma Athletic Shoes Dunham's Hiking Boots 816 8th St. Phone 352-3008 FOR WOMEN Selby Clinic Red Cross Bibiana Cobbies Lady Dexter Socialites Dunham's Hiking Boots' Risque Sandals Cobblers Bare Traps Hush Puppies Clogs SHOE FIT CO. FOR CHILDREN Lazy Bones Robin Hood Keds Jumping Jacks Hush Puppies Sun San Sandals Clogs Open Friday Nights

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