(Gillette, Wyo.) "I've always wanted to run my own business," said Shawn Karol. "A friend asked if I wanted to start a concrete business, which I've never done." But Shawn helped his friend frame his walk-out basement, and had previously been a foreman on different projects in South Dakota. So his friend reassured him that they could give it a shot. [image: 13178759_995774383873498_1627834880362458457_n.jpg] *A little project turned in to a big one: The Gillette Gun Club replaced all their asphalt using B&H.* That was eight years ago. Five years ago, Shawn bought out the other two guys in the business, and B&H Custom Concrete became his own: a side business he ran while working for Cloud Peak Energy, a job he officially retires from in June. "I got too busy," he laughed, when asked why he decided to leave coal mining. "I enjoy my job and the company has treated me well. The hardest thing is leaving a sure bet -- good benefits and a good job -- to go out on your own. I guess I'm kind of a gambling person, so I decided to go." The company does both decorative and functional work, switching back and forth between big projects like re-paving the Gillette Gun Club to make sidewalks and ramps that are handicap accessible, to putting up shops and laying decorative concrete for home patios. He's even started branching out in to making countertops, though that's something he feels like he's still working on. "I was hoping to do it more in the wintertime," he said. "But a friend from high school built an outside kitchen and saw my concrete work, and asked for countertops." [image: 13179263_988568404594096_8634048387909107217_n.jpg] *Acid wash concrete and the bucking horse and rider: Karol takes design advice from his daughter Hailey**.* Between the different projects he already has lined up, he's booked solid through the end of the year. Right now he's working seven days a week, more hours than he did for the mine, trying to play catch-up on different jobs. But he looks forward to soon having weekends and holidays free to spend with his wife and two daughters, who also help out with the family business. And he'll have more time for hunting. "If someone is thinking about doing something on their own, you can't be scared. You never know unless you try it," Karol added. "If you have a hard work ethic and are personable, you're going to be successful. That's what I run on." You can check out more of B&H's work at their Facebook page
. If you have a
project in mind, you can contact them at their website
or by calling 307-257-5130.
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