High-end machinery helps shop meet market demands
The owner of a successful stone fabrication company that bears his name, Michael Homchick has worked in the stone industry for more than 30 years. The current facilities for Michael Homchick Stoneworks, Inc. in Kenmore, WA, rely on advanced machinery to meet the demands of its high-end market.
Homchick discovered his life’s work at the young age of 17 when a family friend hired him for masonry help. “I loved the trade from my first day on the job,” he said. From there he began the apprenticeship process and later started his own business, Masonry Construction Company, now known as Michael Homchick Stoneworks.
Although Homchick’s business started off as a masonry company, he explained that it evolved from there. “We ended up doing more and more marble work,” he said. “Originally we would use another company to do fabrication, but we found it wasn’t getting done timely enough. We started doing it ourselves, and from there it has grown to be a decent size company.”
The growth of the company has enabled Homchick to establish a 10,000-square-foot shop as well as a 6,000-square-foot shop, which both house a complete line of advanced equipment. Additional outdoor storage is also available for stocking slabs.
Homchick’s machinery includes two Teco bridge saws, a Flow Zx6x10 waterjet, an Olimar Surface Polisher purchased from VIC International Corp. of Knoxville, TN, a Technomar Delta 3A CNC stoneworking center, a Big Job router and an EAM FCCM3 CNC machine purchased from Marmo Meccanica.
Most recently, Michael Homchick Stoneworks, Inc. added a Marmo Meccanica USA LCT 522 CAI-MO edge polishing machine, which has helped the company focus on its primary market. “It’s really freed up our people to be able to do the detail work,” said Homchick. “Simple edgework is something a machine can do well. We do the very highest end when it comes to detail.
“The Seattle area has a huge amount of millionaires with Microsoft [in the region],” he continued. “That’s our market - people that want the best and the most technical.”
While still using Luan/wood templates and flexible plastic templates, Homchick also attributes the use of his new laser templator to helping the company exceed expectation in its market. “All of the digital stuff has enabled us to keep up with the technical requests we get from customers, and to be able to do more and more work with the same amount of people,” he explained.
With 75% of business involving residential projects, and a quarter of the market being commercial work, Homchick and his 20 employees complete a range of projects throughout the year. “What we really make are countertops, floors and fireplaces,” he said, adding that 80% of work involves marble.
More recent projects have dealt with super yachts ranging from 112 to 164 feet. “In those boats we used a material that is very thin, only 7 cm thick,” said Homchick. “They’re full slabs that are backed with a composite epoxy material.”
The company primarily runs one shift with an occasional second, where business is good all year round.
Homchick has also found other niches within his trade. “We started a new wholesale slab company, Crocodile Rocks,” he said. “I’ve got at least $1 million worth of slab stocked that we sell to fabricators.
“The long-range goal is to grow with the industry, and always stay at the very top when it comes to quality and service,” he concluded.