FABRICATOR CASE STUDIES: Consistent Growth in New Jersey
March 13, 2006
AMJ Marble & Granite of Fairfield, NJ, has grown and expanded steadily over the past few years, and more expansion is planned for the future
The groundwork for AMJ Marble & Granite -- a fabricator of natural stone and Silestone based in Fairfield, NJ -- dates back to 1988, when James Amendola Jr. began working as a tile installer. After gaining experience in the field, he opened his own tilesetting company, and ultimately partnered with his brother, Michael, who was in the slab business. Since that time, AMJ Marble & Granite has enjoyed steady growth -- as it continues to invest in new stoneworking machinery and expand its production.
Equipment in use at AMJ Marble & Granite includes two bridge saws, including models from Zonato (purchased from International Machine Corp.) and Pedrini. After material is cut to size, more intricate stone processing is done on an Intermac Master Stone 4000 CNC stoneworking center from AGM. An Elephant lifting system is stationed next to the CNC unit for easy loading and unloading of the workpieces. The tooling used in the shop comes from Salem Stone as well as Stone Boss.
To minimize water consumption, a Water Treatment Technologies EnviroSystem is in place and separates the slurry and other byproducts from the water, allowing it to be continually reused during the fabrication process.
Hard templates are made for each project, and AMJ uses assembled plywood for templating. The templates are then scanned on a digitizing board, and the resulting data is used to program the CNC unit.
The Pedrini saw was the first piece of equipment purchased by AMJ, and the company initially completed its edge routing by hand. It continued to add equipment as it grew, and the Intermac CNC stoneworking center was purchased from AGM in mid-2003. â€œIt was well proven at the time,â€ said John Da Costa Jr., who is Vice President of AMJ's Commercial Division. â€œIt's not tough to learn, but you need to separate theory from practice. You have to understand what the machine can do, but also what it cannot do.â€
The company currently has 26 employees in all, and it fabricates 45 kitchens per week. Da Costa said that new employees are located through traditional means - such as newspaper advertisements or Monster.com - and they are trained by the company's more experienced employees. When CNC training is needed, it is provided by Da Costa, who has a background in engineering.
Ultimately, AMJ will be converting to an all-digital shop, where even the employee time clock is digitized.
About 60% of the company's business is natural granite, with the remainder being Silestone quartz surfacing. Amendola said the share of granite fabricated has increased over the past few years, a development he attributed to overall consumer preferences and an increase in kitchen and bath dealers showcasing granite. â€œWe have huge support from IGM,â€ Amendola said when explaining his natural stone sourcing. â€œThey're our ally in the business. We feel confident in sending people to IGM to look at slabs, because we know they will be taken care of.â€
The company works in a broad range of exotic, high-end materials, and custom work has proven to be a successful niche for AMJ. Kitchen sizes average between 50 and 60 square feet of material installed, also kitchen projects measuring 80 square feet are not uncommon, and the company has completed jobs as large as 250 square feet. â€œSome jobs have required two installation crews,â€ Amendola said.
On the Silestone end of the trade, AMJ fabricates the quartz material for the Home Depot Expo Centers in New Jersey.
The company fabricates and installs material for projects throughout New Jersey as well as Eastern Pennsylvania, New York City and New York State. All jobs are precisely tracked by computer using a software system from Moraware.
As a young, successful business, AMJ has been mindful to give back to the community. The company is also involved in the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Food Bank of New Jersey. It also completed work for the 200 Club of Bergen County, NJ, including fabrication of the â€œWall of Heroes,â€ which memorializes fallen law enforcement officers.
AMJ Marble & GraniteFairfield, NJ
Type of work: countertops, vanities
Machinery: Intermac Master Stone 4000 CNC stoneworking center, Pedrini bridge saw, Zonato bridge saw from International Machine Corp., Water Treatment Technologies EnviroSystem; tooling from Salem Stone and Stone Boss, Moraware job tracking software
Number of Employees: 26
Production Rate: 45 kitchens per week