Virginia Fabricator Refines the Craft of Stoneworking
For Robert and Lisa Carter, owners of the Albemarle Countertop Co. of Charlottesville, VA, the transition to stone fabrication was a relatively straightforward progression. The company started out as a solid surface fabricator six years ago. “Our previous business was bathtub repair and refinishing,” Robert Carter explained. “We began offering shower enclosures and other solid surface products, and after a year we realized that the market [for solid surface] was going downward.”
The majority of the equipment in the shop is from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN. This includes a Cougar bridge saw and a Pro-Edge III line polisher. In October of 2007, Albemarle Countertop Co. added a Park Destiny CNC stoneworking center. Carter explained that he was trained to use the machine at Park’s facilities in Minnesota, and the learning curve for operating the machine was relatively simple.
Templating is done using assembled strips of Luan plywood. “We’re not ready to move into digital templating yet,” Carter said.
Sales and productionCarter estimates that 80% of the Albemarle Countertop Co.’s work is in the remodeling sector, with some wholesaling through cabinet shops. “Our market is medium to high-end work,” he said. Stone is purchased from local distributors in Virginia, such as Marva Marble and Granite and Fleet Imports. Additionally, Carter estimates that the company does around five projects per month in quartz surfacing products, such as CaesarStone.
While Robert Carter is focused on the stoneworking area of the operation, Lisa Carter is responsible for the business aspects - such as sales, accounting and other administrative activities.