Fabricator Case Study: Italian fabricator finds passion in the U.S.
February 10, 2006
After growing up surrounded by a family-owned granite business, Italian fabricator Primo Danti started his own company, Danti Imports, years following his arrival to the U.S.
When Primo Danti left Italy 20 years ago, he took with him a strong knowledge of the stone industry, which he gained from his family's granite business. He now runs his own operation, Danti Imports, a granite and marble company for the residential sector, which operates out of a 9,000-square-foot facility in Commerce Township, MI. According to Danti, he isn't in the business simply to make money, but rather for the passion he has towards perfecting the final outcome of each fabrication, whether it is a countertop, vanity top or fireplace.
â€œI have been in the business my entire life,â€ said Danti, adding that his family owned a stone business that fabricated granite for sidewalks, roads and fountains in Italy. â€œWhen I came to North America, my first stop was in Canada, where I worked at a granite and marble company for 14 years. I then did some marketing in the stone industry in the States, and liked the way things were going, so I decided to start my own company.â€
Danti Imports first began in a small 3,400-square-foot leased space in Farmington, MI, while the office portion of the business was run out of Danti's basement. A recent move into a larger space allowed for more state-of-the-art technology, including an ECS/EICH water filtration system from EuroStone Machine, which Danti feels is the most important investment, as it helps take care of the environment. In the future, he hopes to add another water filtration system to the shop to make the water even cleaner.
Additionally, the shop houses a Zonato bridge saw from International Machine Corp., a Ghines Irodos air dust collector from GranQuartz, Terminator saw blades from Stone Boss and hand routers from Alpha Professional Tools, as well as overhead cranes and forklifts.
In December 2005, Danti made two new additions to the shop, including a Proliner digital templating system and a Procutter plotting machine for cutting the templates - both of which are from Innovative Stone Technologies of Hauppauge, NY.
The shop does not currently contain any CNC machinery because Danti feels his workers do a good enough job without them. â€œThere is no need for a CNC; they are the CNC,â€ he said.
With just four employees, the company produces an average of two to three jobs a week. â€œIt's a small company, and I want to keep it small,â€ said the owner. â€œI like to know my customers and know what is going on with each job we produce. I don't go after 10 jobs a week; two or three keeps us going.â€
According to Danti, the most important business aspect revolves around customer service and quality, which is why he does not accept any money from a customer until after a job has been successfully completed. â€œI never take a deposit,â€ he said. â€œI want customers to be comfortable with me. I do the job first, and if the customer is happy with the result, then they pay me. So far, everybody has paid me.â€
Furthermore, Danti does not do any advertising, as relying on word of mouth has proved successful for the company. â€œPeople know the name Primo,â€ he said. â€œThere are builders that have been working with me since day one. They always come back to me for more work.â€
Today, Danti owns the building that houses the shop, instead of leasing, which had previously prohibited him from doing everything with the space that he had hoped to do. â€œNow that I own this building, I was able to make a lot of necessary adjustments, such as adding new cranes and other equipment,â€ he said. â€œWhen you rent property and the lease runs out, all the money you invested in the space goes down the drain. Now, whatever I do is here to stay. It's a commitment that says you want to be in this business for the rest of your life.â€
Danti considers his profession to be challenging in the sense that each job he produces has to be perfect. â€œYou have to find the perfect material, take the perfect measurements, put the seams in the right place, make the veins go in the same direction, and so on,â€ said Danti. â€œIt's a lot. I do it with passion. The people in the business who are just looking for money will never do the perfect job. You have to wake up in the morning and know what you are going to do for the day. It has to be about what is in your heart, and not about the profit you will make. You have to think about what can be done to improve a job, and make it beautiful because when you deliver the best you could possibly do, it feels good.â€
Commerce Township, MI
Type of work: residential, kitchen countertops, vanity tops, fireplaces
Machinery: ECS/EICH water filtration system from EuroStone Machine, Zonato bridge saw from International Machine Corp., Ghines Irodos air dust collector from GranQuartz, Terminator saw blades from Stone Boss, hand routers from Alpha Professional Tools, overhead cranes and forklifts
Number of employees: 4
Production rate: 2 to 3 jobs a week