Building a handcrafted stone business

Edgard Sargi, president of ImExWare in Henderson, NV, journeyed to Indonesia several years ago with a specific objective in mind. “I realized that they have nice marble, and also reasonable labor costs there,” he explained. “I went to get into something different then general construction, which I had been doing. I was a general contractor in Las Vegas.” And after observing local practices in Indonesia, Sargi returned to the U.S. with thoughts of launching a business to produce split-faced stone products.

“I noticed that for a lot of things, [Indonesians] rely on their hands -- to make furniture and other handcrafted things,” he said. “I went to a trade show there, and after I came back, I thought about the idea of doing split-faced stone, because I know how to do this kind of work.”

Once Sargi was convinced of his idea, he returned to Indonesia to begin hunting for a company to manufacture the products. “I went back to Indonesia, but couldn't find anybody that had the technique to do this kind of work and make it for me,” he said. “I waited about six months, and then went ahead and started my own factory.”

It was three years ago when Sargi set out on this mission. “I brought technicians from Europe, and spent six months building the factory and training people to split the stone,” he said. “While in Indonesia, I went around to all different islands and found quarries with different colors. We offer 18 colors in all.”

Sargi explained that he purchases materials from these quarries, and then fabricates the products at his facility, which sits on 5 acres. The factory is equipped with everything from hand tools to advanced machinery, according to Sargi. “We do split-face, bushhammered and polished stone finishes as well as mosaics and ledged stone, which is with 2-inch random length pieces set on mesh,” he said. “The bottom line is that we can fabricate anything the customer wants. Custom orders aren't a problem. We can do any size.”

The company, which began with 60 employees, has now grown to include 120. It outputs 10 containers a month, and markets its products to regions throughout the U.S. ImExWare maintains a showroom and warehouse in Henderson, NV, where it keeps a total of 60 containers in stock. The company offers interior and exterior products for both residential and commercial design.

“We are planning to go worldwide,” said Sargi. “We are setting up exclusive dealers for tile. We just signed a deal with Dal-Tile in San Francisco, and are looking for exclusive dealers all over the U.S.”

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