Clay works to close
After 37 years, Flint Hills Clay Works will cease operations this fall and owner Les Byer will retire. He plans to sell his equipment to Bracker’s Good Earth Clay of Lawrence.
“It’s been in the works for a year or so,” Byer said. “I’ve been telling people that I’ve got a list of projects that’ll take me two years to finish (that) I’ve been putting off for 40 years.”
He and the buyers go way back.
“They’re like family,” he said. “They’ve been some of my best customers over the years. We started in the business around the same time; they went more toward retail, and I went more toward manufacturing.”
Through the years, he said he has enjoyed seeing what artists do with his clay.
“There is such an array of talented artists out there in the Midwest,” he said.
Once the deal goes through and Byer retires, all the equipment will be transported to Lawrence, where the owners will operate under the new name, Kansas Clay.
“I am Flint Hills Clay Works,” Byer said. “Since it’s basically just me here, to get away for a week’s vacation is quite a feat, and then when I get back I’m about three weeks behind. It’s just time. Pam and I want to do some traveling.”