As friendly and warm as Bill Ruark is, he doesn’t like to wait. He’s decisive. And when he makes a decision about Meshoppen Stone—the family business he’s owned for decades and operates with his son, Ryan—he expects it done.
He expects it of himself, his 200-plus employees and of Matt Dougherty—his commercial lender at Community Bank, N.A.
“I’m not always looking for the best deal. I’m looking for the service, and Community Bank provides some of the best,” Ruark said. “Matt’s there for us, he knows us, and he takes it personally knowing that we could take our business elsewhere if we want to. We’re not just a customer to him, and that means a lot to us. I consider Matt a good friend.”
Dougherty has worked with Ruark for the past 13 years. He quickly understood Ruark’s disdain for getting stonewalled by red tape, so his ability to make decisions quickly without invoking a slow-moving process that involved getting permission from someone outside the area has helped pave a path to progress.
“He’s a service guy, he knows the industry, he knows our businesses and how we think,” Ruark said. “He thinks ahead about what we might need. He knows the gas industry in Northeastern PA, which is a moving target every day. He’s always been there for us.”
Meshoppen Stone in Meshoppen, PA, has been a premium supplier of bluestone for 50-plus years. Since taking the reins, Ruark has grown and diversified its offerings, solidified its rock-solid foundation and chiseled a reputation as a community-centric business owner. That commitment is on full display during the holiday season.
In 2016, Ruark purchased a golf course that had fallen by the wayside. He saw the potential it still had and believed that investing in it was an investment in the community. By November 2017, with the help of his fiancé, Karen Force, Ruark’s StoneHedge Golf Course hosted a Festival of Lights, an instant attraction that saw the course lit up with holiday cheer. The event brought in visitors from all over and a provided subsequent boost to the local economy.
“Bill has an incredible mind for business success,” Dougherty said, “and he continually invests in struggling businesses or takes them over to save them. He and Karen are so hands-on and are such hardworking people that it makes it easy to want to help them.”
Ruark said his relationship with Dougherty makes it easier to make decisions with the confidence that his bank will have his back. And that confidence has value without a price.
“When I need something, I need it not in a month. I need it in a matter of days,” Ruark said. “I can pick up the phone and say, ‘I’m gonna buy a new excavator’ or ‘I’m gonna buy a new piece of property’ and I need financing quickly, and they work with me to get it done.”
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