Santos Ready Mixed Concrete began as a way to create work for founder Bill Santos, but grew to become a well-known Riverland entity.
At just 22 years of age, Bill moved to the Riverland from Sunraysia in the 1960s with a second-hand tip truck he purchased.
Bill worked as a contractor for a number of years, most notably carting filling to rebuild a bridge that had been destroyed in the 1956 flood.
With work beginning to run out for Bill, he decided to get creative and start his own business in 1964.
“By that time I had met Charlene and after a couple of years we got married,” he said.
“So, because of the lack of work, I decided I needed to create something to keep me in the area and just prior to leaving Mildura the ready mixed concrete phenomenon had just started up over there.
“I investigated it all and got together with another friend of mine and the two of us started it off in 1964 and we were together for five years.
“When he decided he wanted to move into the wine industry where he already had some experience, Charlene and I bought out his shares and then we moved from there.”
Bill says Santos Ready Mixed Concrete began as a small operation, but over time he and Charlene purchased more equipment and hired employees as business boomed.
“We started off with a couple of second-hand mixer bowls that came from the Snowy Mountains Project,” he said.
“It was a bit slow at first, but we picked up quite a bit of work.
“It took a while at the start because builders had been mixing by hand for so long that it was a big change, but there were a few that switched straight over so the others saw the benefit too.
“It’s grown from when we started. There were only three or four of us, then we brought in more trucks and eventually more drivers.
“We did earthworks for a while there but we decided to concentrate on the core business.”
Bill says he and Charlene, and now Paul, had always focused on excelling in customer service and keeping up with the latest in the industry to provide a quality product.
“We always try to give our very best service and quality… and keep up with technology,” he said.
“When I first started it was just grey concrete and now there’s so many new features.
“We can now use steel fibres in the concrete instead of rods and also add colouring inside the concrete mixture for a solid, long-lasting colour.
“If over time there’s ever a chip the colour is solid so it still looks good.
“We’ve always tried to look out for what’s new and tried to implement that here.”