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Western Hills

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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

Nearly 37 years ago, Rex Brown didn’t think a rabbit hunt could be so life changing. However, chasing rabbits with a friend in the outskirts of Kanab is exactly what allowed him to literally trip over his future career. A large chunk of sandstone that nearly caused Rex to stumble now has him head over heels for sandstone production. Realizing that what he found was not ordinary sandstone, Rex has affectionately named the stone Kanab Wonderstone.

Rex started mining the sandstone and created a business called Western Hills. The company mines three times a year for a two-week period and spends the rest of its time in production and sales. For 34 years, it’s a business that has taken a great deal of dedication and hard work to reach success. For instance, the money used to purchase the company’s first saw blade was from the wages that Rex’s wife earned from her part-time waitressing job. Also, many of the first employees consisted of Rex’s own children. One summer, all but one of them was employed at least part-time at the shop.

As a side note, because there is little equipment for sandstone in the rock production industry, Western Hills has had to design and build about half of their machines used for production. And, as far as sales go, Ken is trying to keep the business in the family. This past summer he employed four of his five children to help out around the shop.

Western Hills is now owned by Ken Brown, one of Rex’s sons. And Ken has built the company from a small Kanab shop to an international establishment. The main outlets for Western Hills’ items are specialty shops due to the fact that the rocks’ vivid colors, unique texture, and scenic workings are found nowhere else in the world.

The diversity of the rock slabs has brought the company great fame--the highlight being a rock slab that was showcased in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.” It looked like the mushroom of smoke created from an atomic bomb. Other famous pieces have been rocks with images of seascapes, animals and even flying saucers embedded in the stone.

Unlike Rex, you don’t have to stumble over a sandstone. Simply visit Kanab, which is nestled among the beautiful setting of nature’s red hills, and pick up some world famous sandstone from Western Hills today!

For Zions Bank, I’m Fred Ball. I’m speaking on business.

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