Breaking New Ground Winner – Macy Horton ’14
Post from SoYoon Jun ’14, founder of How To Marry:
A graduating senior, Macy Horton’14, recently won SGA’s Breaking New Ground competition and received $3,000 cash prize. I got to interview Horton to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey with her venture, Rock Dust Soil Solutions.
Coming from the small town in Maine, Macy Horton’14 was first inspired to be an entrepreneur when a small business owner came to speak at her high school. Horton remembers him saying that everyone in the classroom has potential to be an entrepreneur and transform the community.
After Horton came to Babson, she concentrated in environmental sustainability. Through her course work, she learned about businesses that converted wastes from the other industry into a new valuable product. Horton’s dad worked for the stonework industry and she began to explore what kinds of waste products were generated from her dad’s business. She soon learned that in the stonework industry, rock dust from cutting dust is a huge waste product. While thinking of a way to upcycle the product, Horton, a lifelong gardener, learned that minerals from rock dust are really good for gardening from the old ancient practice of gardening. She saw an opportunity.
Horton gathered a collection of piles of wet rock mud and processed it so that dry rocks can be crushed, sifted and combined with a soil or compost mixture to be ready for gardening. The product is called Granite Flour. Horton was successful in closing contracts with seven garden centers and received pre-orders from three more garden centers. She saw the demand for her product but she had trouble meeting the demand as all the processing work was done manually. She needed to do something to fix the bottleneck. Fortunately for Horton, she was able to do with the $3,000 cash prize from winning SGA’s Breaking New Ground competition. Horton used the money to design and build a processor that can automatically turn piles of wet rock mud into clean and dry rocks efficiently and quickly.
Now that spring has arrived, Horton is expecting the sales to grow as spring is when people buy fertilizers for their gardens. “This is the big push time for me,” says Horton.
Horton expects her products to be sold in all garden centers in Maine as well as some local ones in Boston by next year. She is also looking strategically for product line expansion. She expects to have at least one other product by next year.
For anyone interested in gardening, Horton’s Granite Flour is sold in Needham Garden Center as well as New England Hydroponics located in Framingham for $20.