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With nearly 60 years of industry-related experience under their belts, Gary Myers and Roger Pick joined forces in 2001 to establish Granite Encounters of Canton, OH. The men began the company as a part-time operation, and worked out of a small shop with little machinery. Today, the company’s 15,000-square-foot facility has the capability to produce an average of 10 kitchens per week, in addition to work for smaller projects.
Prior to launching the company, Myers and Pick were carpentry contractors working separate businesses in the commercial and residential sectors. “We wanted granite kitchens, but our area had a limited number of fabricators, which made for a long lead time and big price,” explained Pick. “We felt the knowledge from carpentry, with the attention to detail, would help in the endeavor, and so we decided to go into business.”
In 2001, the partners set up shop in a small space where workers relied on a Denver Skema S bridge saw from VIC International of Knoxville, TN, and a Marmoelettromeccanica Master 3500 portable router from Regent Stone Products of Virginia Beach, VA. Less than a year later, the owners moved the company into a 3,000-square-foot shop, and added a Seelbach KFP 4500 XL -- a full-size milling and polishing station from GranQuartz of Tucker, GA -- to the production line to cut and polish sink holes. In 2002, the owners also purchased a Galeski Jig saw, a Contour Kat, a jib crane, a Manzelli vacuum lifter and an air hoist.
And then, in the spring of 2006, Myers and Pick purchased a Denver Quota Tech CNC stoneworking center from VIC International. “It took us about a month to get ahead of the learning curve on the CNC, but it is an ongoing process,” Pick explained, adding that the biggest obstacle on the CNC was writing the programs. “At the present time, we have one CNC specialist, but we are also training others.
“Our biggest and best purchase has been the CNC. It has brought about the perfection we always strived for, but could not achieve when working stone by hand,” he continued. “CNC is the wave of the future in stone fabrication. If you want to continue in business, you must keep up with technology for quality and increased production.”
That same spring, the company also added a digitizer from BVH Gregg, Inc. of Missouri City, TX, a Gorbel overhead crane, a Towmotor and a lifting crane to its shop. “By the fall of 2006, we were out of room and moved to our present location of 15,000 square feet,” said Pick. “Here, we have the room to expand and grow, as we have more than 60% per year.”
Granite Encounters fabricates granite, quartz and marble for kitchens, baths and fireplaces, as well as a newer market trend that involves outdoor kitchens. The majority of the company’s work lies in the high-end residential market, as well as the commercial sector. “We cut to size and fabricate nearly 100%,” Pick added.
Today, the staff consists of six employees, with Myers and Pick currently wearing many hats. “All employees can execute any aspect of the fabrication process other than writing programs for the CNC, but we are training to cover this job also,” explained Pick, adding that any new employee starts out polishing, and then has the opportunity to move up from there.
According to Pick, scheduling is one of the obstacles he faces as a fabricator today. “Scheduling can be a challenge because we install two weeks after template, but our staff understands the need and delivers,” he said.