A Community Tradition
Cincinnati Bulk Terminals LLC supports local development with new aggregate stone division
Cincinnati Bulk Terminals LLC (CBT) has been a fixture in the Cincinnati, Ohio, community since 1882 when it was founded by James Hatfield as a coal company. Hatfield first sold coal door to door before CBT eventually expanded, adding property for coal storage and purchasing mines.
As the market changed and the demand for coal decreased, CBT’s focus shifted to transportation, transforming from a coal sales company into an all-purpose marine terminal. Today, CBT provides marine port services and transportation logistics, overseeing the shipping of a variety of products for a wide range of clients.
CBT continues to diversify its services, and in the last year has added an aggregate stone division that provides stone materials to general contractors, paving contractors and concrete and asphalt producers. CBT has also become certified with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), allowing the firm to take on ODOT projects, which the CBT team plans to do in the coming year.
As it has done throughout the last century, CBT continues to change with the times, transforming its business model and the company’s place in the Cincinnati community.
Delivering a Different Experience
CBT’s headquarters has been part of the downtown Cincinnati landscape for decades. Located on the Ohio River, the firm is ideally situated to provide efficient transportation of materials via boats and barges. Along with direct river access, CBT’s centralized location also includes easy railroad access and three interstate highways within about a mile.
“We can reach a large percentage of the U.S. population in just one or two days,” says Jack Weiss, President. This helps ensure that customers get materials on time, and the team prides itself on its reliable service and efficient deliveries.
Flexibility is also front of mind for CBT. Scott Gaede, Aggregate Sales Manager, says the relationship the team has built with its aggregate stone supplies allows CBT to secure specific products for customers who have special requests. “We’ve partnered with a great supplier,” Gaede says. “Even if we don’t have certain materials in the yard, we have the flexibility with our supplier to be able to get the materials the customer needs to complete unique projects.”
Gaede explains that the flexibility the team shows to go above and beyond for the customer is part of the fabric of the company’s culture. “It’s not something that’s spoken about in meetings; you won’t see it written in a memo and it’s not posted on the wall. But there’s this sense that everyone will do whatever it takes to get the job done, 24/7. Everyone has a specific job responsibility, but everyone is open to putting on a different hat if needed and helping out where they can,” he says.
“Our employees all cut their teeth on being very service-oriented,” Weiss adds. “If a customer needs something in the middle of the night, we’ll get it done for them. Our employees have been brought up that way.”
Another CBT advantage is its team members’ long tenures. According to Weiss, about 25% of employees have been with the company for 25 years or more, with several, including Weiss himself, staying with the company more than 40 years.
“People that come here tend to stay,” he says. “It becomes a second family to you.”
Gaede points out that the long tenure of employees means “everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goals year in and year out.”
He believes that CBT’s local DNA, combined with its customer-focused culture, gives it an edge over larger multinational aggregate stone suppliers. “We can be more flexible—whether it’s opening earlier for a customer or staying through the night,” he says. “We’re selling a commodity, but the way we do business is more personalized. We can deliver a different experience.”
Another important part of the CBT culture is supporting the local community, not only through business, but through outreach. “We try to be corporate citizens and contribute to various local organizations. We’re never the biggest donor, but we do what we can,” Weiss says.
Some of the organizations CBT is involved in include Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and RiverWorks Discovery. The latter helps to educate people about the commerce, culture and conservation of rivers in America—a fitting partnership given the role the Ohio River has played in CBT’s history and its success as a company.
The CBT team also supports an organization called Adopt A Class, which connects businesses and civic groups with students in economically challenged schools in the Cincinnati area.
“We are happy to be able to help those groups because they’re doing a lot for our community,” Weiss says.
In It for the Long Haul
Having been a part of the downtown Cincinnati landscape for so long, CBT has seen its city undergo a lot of changes through the years—especially with the recent construction boom.
“There’s so much development going on as downtown continues to evolve, and we’re right in the epicenter of that,” Gaede says. “We’re part of the fabric and culture of the city, and we don’t take that lightly. There’s a lot of change to be had in the next couple of years. The physical landscape of downtown will continue to evolve, and we’re excited to be a part of that.”
Gaede and Weiss both believe that CBT—with its prime location and new aggregate stone division—is positioned to play a direct role in the downtown development by being able to support the paving, concrete and general contractors taking on the renovation and new construction. It’s one more way the team can support the city they call home.
“We love Cincinnati,” Weiss says. “And we want to help make it better by serving our customers in the construction community.”
“We’re looking forward to serving that industry as best we can,” Gaede adds.
As Cincinnati continues to grow, Weiss says that CBT plans to grow alongside the city. As a company celebrating a 139-year history, it plans to stick around for the decades to come. “We’re in it for the long haul,” Weiss says. “We’ve been here for a long time, and we plan to continue providing good jobs for local people in the generations to come.”