Improving quality with the latest technology
Take It For Granite Too, located in Las Vegas, NV, a branch off of the California-based original company called Take It For Granite, fabricates and installs a wide variety of natural stone material in both the residential and commercial sector. And by utilizing a variety of machinery from Northwood of Louisville, KY, the company has significantly increased its revenue over the past few years.
The Las Vegas branch is an expansion from the original Take It For Granite location in San Jose, CA, and it was opened in 1999 by entrepreneur Lawrence Krulee and some investors. According to Krulee, the transition wasn’t as easy as they had expected. “For the first five years, we basically starved,” he said. “We were seen as outsiders in the ‘good old boy’ town of Vegas. Our original thinking was, ‘If we build it, they will come,’ but no one came. It wasn’t until five years later, in 2005, that decent work started to come around for us.”
Take It For Granite Too attributes much of its recent success to the latest technology available on today’s market, which includes the company’s newest addition - a SawJET™ from Northwood Machine Manufacturing Co. of Louisville, KY - which according to Meyer, has enabled the company to increase productivity and greatly improve quality. “By combining two units into one machine, you get the best of both worlds,” he said. “You get the speed and efficiency of a bridge saw, and the accuracy and intricacy of a waterjet.”
The 23,000-square-foot facility also houses two CNC stoneworking centers from Northwood. “Anyone who has been in the stone industry knows when you do everything by hand, things come out decent, but not with the accuracy of a CNC machine,” the fabricator stated.
Slabs are also cut using bridge sawing equipment from Gomez, of Spain. Meanwhile, backsplashes are processed using a Sasso lineal edging machine from U.S. Granite Machinery of Carpentersville, IL. When templating projects, the company uses a Proliner digital templating system from Blick Industries/Innovative Stone.
“Basically, what we can do is do an electronic template on a jobsite, manipulate the job file, cut on the SawJET™, machine it on the CNC, do some final touch up and polishing, and install it at the customer’s house with great accuracy,” Meyer explained. “These machines have eliminated a lot of our labor force problems. It used to be that the fabricator had control. They had to have talent, since fabricating stone is like an art form. If a guy was a really good fabricator, he knew he would be hard to replace, so he had a lot of control. With the CNC, you need an operator and you can train the person to use the machine efficiently. This made a big difference in our labor force in terms of the type of talent that is required.”
Approximately half of Take It For Granite Too’s production is commercial tower work, and the company recently fabricated slabwork and tilework for the Panoramic Towers I and II in Las Vegas, which house 30-plus condo units. The company is also currently in the process of fabricating stone for the International Gaming Technology (IGT) corporate campus, as well as completing stonework for the MGM Grand and the Venetian Hotel/Casinos, all of which are located in Las Vegas. The company also handles work in the residential sector, and fabricates and installs and average of five to 10 kitchens per day. The company is currently fabricating stone for 17 residences by Pardee Homes, a major builder in the area.
In general, the company works with granite, marble and CaesarStone. “We also prefabricate natural stone from China on some large commercial projects to keep the costs down for the end-user,” Meyer explained.
According to Meyer, the company currently employs 50 workers, who were hired with little to no stoneworking experience. “We train them on our procedures, so we don’t have to get rid of bad habits, “ he said.
Take It For Granite Too handles its own installations, and currently has six trucks on the road, which are run by four different crews consisting of two people per crew. “We typically install one kitchen a day unless it is really complicated, or really simple,” said the fabricator. “The average in one day is around 80 to 110 feet a day, per installation crew.”
While the company’s current space is leased, Meyer hopes to purchase a larger facility in the near future. “I am looking to get onto 2.5 acres of land and into an approximate 30,000-square-foot facility with a showroom, as we currently do not have one,” he explained.
“We are on a very good growth curve, and keep taking on bigger and bigger jobs,” he said. “We expect to at least increase our profits by 50 to 100% on a yearly basis. Over the last two years, we have pretty much grown 100%.”