Moving from construction to fabrication

November 1, 2003
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Olympia Marble and Granite focuses on fabricating and retailing marble in Needham, MA, producing about 2,500 kitchens as well as 1,200 fireplaces and vanity tops in a year. The company has been in business for over 20 years has a long-standing history of completing residential stonework. The facility is composed of a large showroom totaling 3,000 square feet and a staff well trained in every aspect that stone fabrication entails.

The company got started after owner Charlie Zgnois visited Europe and fell in love with marble. In 1980, Zgnois was working for Senator Paul Tsongas and wound up on a trip to Carrara, Italy, for four weeks, when he decided to quit his job and go into the marble business. He first began his marble career importing stone, but that wasn't very lucrative, so he went to work for an established marble company. After working there for about six months, he took the bit of background he had in architecture from college and the good work ethic from his experience working for Paul Tsongas, and opened Olympia Marble. He established the company on the premise that still holds true today - guaranteeing his production. He stands behind his work if anything goes wrong, according to Zgnois.

The staff is a very important element for any company, particularly in the fabricating industry. “Right now we have seven sales people on the floor, 25 people in the shop, and 10 installers and measurers,” said Zgnois. “We have three teams of installers who are specialized to a certain degree. When a new employee is hired, their training includes everything from cleaning the floor to running the machines. The new hire is evaluated for his [strengths and weaknesses] and placed in the production line where his best assets will be highlighted. The foreman on our staff has been with us for five years and has a good sense of what an employee will be good at. With a background in computers and production, he gets the job done.”

Olympia Marble's facility contains many machines that are a great asset

for the company. The inventory of machinery includes an Intermac Master Stone CNC stoneworking center from AGM, three workstations with Marmoelettromeccanica routers, three Technomac bridge saws and nine hand polishers. “We recently bought one of the bridge saws last year, a tumbling machine from Technomac a year and a half ago, and the CNC machine was bought about two years ago, which increases production,” said Zgnois. “We are in the process of purchasing another CNC machine from AGM as well as looking at different types of waterjets. We are most likely going to buy the CNC machine from AGM because it will be more compatible to the one we already have, rather than buying it from another company.”

As with all companies, there are always challenges that they have to face. In the case of Olympia Marble and Granite, the biggest challenge is labor and having to train everyone as well as keeping up with the fabricators in the surrounding area of New England. The most recent challenge that the company has faced is the size of the jobs that they are completing. The big houses that they are recently acquiring are great, but they have been forced to put in a second shift, according to Zgnois.

End box:
Olympia Marble and Granite, Needham, MA

Type of work: Residential kitchens, vanity tops, fireplaces

Machinery: Intermac Master Stone CNC stoneworking center from AGM, three workstations with Marmoelettromeccanica routers, three Technomac bridge saws, a Technomac tumbler and nine hand polishers

Number of employees: 5

Production rate: 2,500 kitchens and 1,200 fireplaces and vanity tops per year

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