Many small-business owners like to think they helped build their community, and while the contributions of many such businesses are significantly impactful, this feeling is quite literally true for Kendall Anderegg’s Mutual Materials Co.
Anderegg’s fifth-generation family business can trace its roots back to the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, when her great-great-grandfather, a brick layer out of California, journeyed to the Pacific Northwest. An ordinance had been passed proclaiming the city be rebuilt from fireproof materials, and many masonry businesses began popping up as a result.
Pioneer Square isn’t the only place Anderegg can see her family’s legacy. CenturyLink Field, T-Mobile Park, and the University of Washington are just a few of the projects for which Mutual Materials has literally provided the building blocks.
“Our mission statement is building beauty that lasts, and that’s really something that I personally — and our employees, too — take a lot of pride in,” Anderegg said, explaining that it’s not just the big projects that fill her with pride.
“In all of our manufacturing facilities, we put up pictures of projects that (our team) have been involved in from that (specific) manufacturing facility. (It’s a way of reminding them), ‘Hey, you guys made this stuff, and it doesn’t just sit around on pallets. It actually goes out into the community and builds backyards and office buildings; it builds schools, it builds houses. … I think that’s honestly really meaningful to a lot of our employees; it’s something tangible that they can drive by and say, ‘I was part of that,’” Anderegg continued.
A lot has changed since the early days of the business, which was originally founded as Builders Brick Co., including a change of headquarters from Seattle to Bellevue, the acquisition of a distribution company, and growing the business to more than 10 manufacturing plants and 16 branch offices across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and into Canada. The products are now sold direct to contractors and are available to consumers directly or through The Home Depot.
And though the company traditionally produced bricks for constructing structures, Anderegg said the company also has moved into the outdoor landscape arena, with patio stones and pavers — a fortuitous shift that has helped the company through COVID-19.
“There are so many people that are working from home right now and looking out their windows and saying, ‘Wow, I should do something with my backyard,’” Anderegg said of the recent home improvement craze brought about by COVID. “So, I think there’s a lot of folks that are understandably nesting. They’re not spending their expendable income on restaurants or hospitality or travel; instead they are making their home environment somewhere that is enjoyable to spend time with the family.”
Keep reading to share a day in the life of this maven of masonry.
4 a.m. Heading out for a run with the dog. It’s fairly dark this time of day, so I always wear a headlamp and what my husband, Dan, likes to refer to as my “Tron vest.”
5:45 a.m. Dan and I always take some time in the morning to enjoy the quiet with our coffee and talk about the day ahead.
6:30 a.m. I work from home a lot these days, but today is an office day. I love getting in before most folks have arrived, as I’m able to get some work done and just plan the day ahead.
9 a.m. Meetings with my team look a little different these days. We have all gotten so used to video conferencing. Post-pandemic, video calls are a tool that I’m going to continue to use more.
10:30 a.m. There’s a Starbucks right across the parking lot from my office where they know me by name. I had actually quit caffeine for a while and felt very virtuous about it. Having coffee is so much better than having self-righteousness.
1 p.m. I journey to our Lakewood block facility and meeting with the manufacturing crew. Company-wide communication is something that is incredibly important to me, even if we have to do so socially distanced.
2 p.m. Over at our South Seattle branch, I speak with some of the staff. It’s our newest location and one that we are incredibly proud of — it’s a great space for our customers to make product selections.
3 p.m. Mutual has an incredible number of long-time employees. Dave, who runs the yard at our Auburn branch, has been with us nearly 30 years.
4:30 p.m. I head back to the office to meet with Rebecca, our director of human resources. Rebecca and I meet regularly to check in on any outstanding employee concerns and talk about initiatives. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the top of our list these days.
6 p.m. At home, I get ready for dinner with Dan and our daughter, Gwen. Weather is getting colder, so chili is on tonight.
7 p.m. After dinner, it’s great to hang out at the dinner table with the family and catch up on how everyone’s day went.
8:30 p.m. Final wind-down at the end of the day. I catch up on any missed emails, the news, and my current book, while spending a little time with the dog.