Our Town Fairbury: Business and Industry

Pure Nebraska
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 11:46 AM CDT
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FAIRBURY, Neb. (KOLN) - There’s a wide range of important businesses in Fairbury that make the community strong. These businesses also provide opportunities for local residents to thrive in their hometown.

When you think of a cornerstone of business in the Fairbury area, perhaps one of the first that comes to mind is Endicott Clay Products Company. This brick manufacturer has a long history in the area. “In the 1800′s, when the railroad was coming through, they were looking for a source of ballast,” Endicott Clay Products Company President & CEO Ryan Parker said. “As the ballast was being taken off locally to help the railroad, the local family that was supplying this noticed they had a lot of clay exposed, and they decided to try their hand at making bricks. That was the Fairchild Family back in 1920. That’s how the company got started.” Now, the company is a global powerhouse. “We are located on what’s called the Dakota deposit. That deposit lends itself to having an iron spot brick which is a fairly unique looking product,” Parker said. “The iron-rich clay that is in that deposit lends itself to more of an architectural look. We’ve been fortunate to have some wonderful architectural jobs around the country. Locally, you don’t have to go any further than Memorial Stadium to see our product, but if you travel outside the state, anywhere from Quebec to San Diego to Miami to Vancouver, we’ve got great jobs.”

Another important business that has its headquarters in Our Town Fairbury is Livingston Enterprises Inc. Bruce Livingston got into the pork business at a young age. “At an early age of 7, I knew what I wanted to do,” Livingston Enterprises, Inc. President Bruce Livingston said. “I lived on a farm, my folks had about 100 sows. When I was 8, I started my own operation, with six breeding gilts. I just constantly kept expanding, and by the time I was in high school, I was up to 150 sows. We are up to 36,000 sows now, and we produce more than 1 Million pigs a year.” Like Endicott Clay Products Company, Livingston Enterprises, Inc. provides many job opportunities. It now employs 250 people. “You know, not only with the employees that we bring in, we’ve renovated some buildings, kind of like the one you are in now,” Livingston said. “This used to be the first Wal Mart in Nebraska, and now we’ve converted it to our headquarters.”

When it comes to local manufacturing, Prairie View Industries or PVI is also proud to be a part of the Fairbury community. Through innovation and design, the company produces foldable wheelchair ramps, and many other products. “We got into food service equipment, we make racks, shelving for lockers, and other items,” Prairie View Industries owner Richard Allen said. “We sell around the world. We have people in Great Britain, in Europe, and we even have a dealer in Japan that we’ve had for more than 30 years.” Allen says PVI started in a small Kansas town. He was familiar with Lincoln, and needed to move his growing business to a bigger population base. Decades ago, he got the idea to move to Fairbury by watching an Our Town Fairbury story on 10/11. Allen decided to put his business in an empty supermarket building, and it has definitely expanded over the last 30 years.

All three of these businesses are having a huge impact on the local economy. “Being able to go to work without driving 30 miles is encouraging to people,” Allen said. “If you like small towns you love this. The future for us is, we will still need to get bigger, and we will still need more people.” At Livingston Enterprises, Inc. there’s a focus on employees. “I’ve lived in this area my whole life and one of things I like is not just seeing a company grow and expand,” Bruce Livingston said. “It’s great when we can give someone a chance, and they can become an excellent contributing citizen.” And at Endicott, the business continues to appreciate its work force. “Our business means a little over 300 jobs locally,” Ryan Parker said. “Certainly, millions in terms of payroll, benefits, and it’s been such a great workforce for us over the years. There’s a great work ethic with all of the people in this community, and it’s just been a win-win for us as a company and a community.” A strong local work ethic, and strong employers, are making for a great combination in Our Town Fairbury.