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By Carol Stiffler

Newberry’s go-to for gravel and cement has been purchased by new owners Allan and Kathleen VanSloten, owners of Northern Sand and Gravel in Sault Ste. Marie.

Kathleen VanSloten said she and her husband were looking to expand their business, which was started by Allan’s parents in 1979, and purchased Newberry Redi-Mix because they are often in the area and were interested in owning it.

The lifelong Yoopers have changed the name of the Newberry business to Northern Sand and Gravel, like their flagship store in Sault Ste. Marie. It remains on the 300 block of East Victory Way, staffed by employees who originally worked for Newberry Redi-Mix.

To celebrate and get to know local customers, they’ve planned a free play sand event on Saturday, July 23 from 9 a.m. to noon. Visitors can shovel and haul away as much free play sand as they want – multiple loads are fine – and enjoy coffee, donuts, and goodies for kids.

”We’re looking at Saturday as a chance to meet a lot of our customers for the first time,” she said. “And maybe a lot of new ones who have never been through the doors before.”

They’ll keep much of the product line-up, while adding more aggregate materials like sand, crushed stone and gravel. Kathleen said they’re planning to revamp the showroom this fall and to carry other construction necessities, from tools to clothes.

“We have high hopes to bring on more people, and there’s hopefully going to be lots more projects coming to the area, and we want to help with that,” Kathleen said.

“We’re just from the U.P., too. We’re not a big company coming in from a strange land,” she said. “We’re just over in Chippewa County and we just want to do the same thing over there.”