StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas 2009 experiences positive results

The 2009 edition of StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas was held from October 22 to 24 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.

The 2009 edition of StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas took place from October 22 to 24 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. And although expectations were not high due to a recessed economy, exhibitors were pleasantly surprised with the fair amount of activity that occurred on the show floor during the three-day event.

This year’s exhibition featured displays of stone, fabrication machinery, tools and accessories, and stone installation and maintenance products as well as an extensive educational and networking program, which began on Wednesday, October 21. While the show did not hit record attendance, there was a “buzz” at the heart of the exhibition hall. Many exhibitors said that they came with realistic expectations and the visitors that did come to their booths were serious about learning more about their products. Some machinery manufacturers even reported making a sale of large-scale equipment.

A new Stone Pavilion was a highlight of StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas 2009. The pavilion, which was adjacent to Marmomacc’s Italian pavilion, grouped all stone companies together - making it more convenient for those looking for new stone products to browse.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony with show management and industry leaders was held at the opening of the first day of the exhibition.

The show floor also featured an exhibit showcasing images from recent editions of Marmomacc Meets Design (MMD). Launched in 2007, MMD pairs an architect or designer with a stone company to develop a stone prototype reflecting a specific theme, which is then premiered at Marmomacc. The goal of the project is to promote experimental design, by stimulating innovative uses and applications of marble and other natural stone materials.

Additionally, a New Products Pavilion was set-up at the main entrance to the show. This allowed attendees to view the latest product developments. Each product featured in the New Product Pavilion was new to the industry within the past 12 months.

Another draw on the show floor was StoneLIVE! - sponsored by Stone World Magazine and presented by the Stone Fabricators Alliance (SFA). Each day, several scheduled one-hour “how-to” demonstrations were presented. Attendees had the opportunity to sit and watch skilled members of the industry demonstrate challenging stone installation techniques. Topics included: templating, laminating and edge polishing, material handling, sink mounting, an overview of sealers, cleaners and glues, top polishing, repair and restoration, and shower floor and wall installation.

The Italian Trade Commission and Veronafiere had a strong presence on the show floor with a pavilion filled with a host of Italian stone producers.

After-hour events

In addition to the exhibition hall and educational sessions that took place during StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas, stone industry professionals also had the opportunity to gather and network during several receptions that were held at the end of the first day. The Marble Institute of America (MIA), which was highly visible on the show floor, invited its members to a cocktail reception. Attendees were able to mingle and a raffle was held with giveaways.

The SFA also held an after-hour event for its members at the Renaissance Marriot Hotel, which is adjacent to the convention center. Those in attendance were treated to an open bar and hot appetizers. The crowd applauded SFA member Scott McGourley, who was the recipient of the 2009 Stone World Fabricator of the Year Award. The association also held a raffle with giveaways for its members.

Hanley-Wood, the owner and operator of StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas, recently announced that there will not be a 2010 edition of the show. Plans are underway to hold StonExpo at the same time as Surfaces, a floor covering exhibition, which is held in Las Vegas at the beginning of each year. According to Hanley-Wood, the next edition of StonExpo is slated for Las Vegas at the same time as Surfaces in 2011.

Scott McGourley of Kasco Stone in Tampa, FL, (left) was presented with the 2009 “Fabricator of the Year” Award by Stone World Publisher Alex Bachrach. Once again, the award was crafted by Jonathan Mitnick of CCS-Stone in Moonachie, NJ.

Sidebar: Stone World presents “Fabricator of the Year” Award

Since 1987, a committee of stone industry veterans has worked together to select the winners of the Stone World Magazine “Fabricator of the Year” Award (formerly the Technological Achievement Award). The award, which is given to a North American stone producer, is based on the following criteria:

| cooperativeness in sharing technology with the industry |

| willingness to pioneer the use of new technology |

| fostering educational programs for the training of stoneworkers in industry methods |

| promoting technological progress through association work |

Presented at the close of StonExpo’s first day, the award ceremony drew a large turnout on the show floor.

This year’s award went to Scott McGourley, Owner/Operator of Kasco Stone in Tampa, FL. Kasco Stone is a small shop owned and operated by McGourley and his wife, Kathy. This small shop, while typical in size to the average shop found across the U.S., has over the past four years transformed itself from a dry cutting manual operation to a fully digital Micro Shop. As part of the Stone Fabricators Alliance (SFA), McGourley not only embraces the group’s mission, but he works to raise the bar for quality in his region. In doing so, he has become a tremendous asset to the Natural Stone Industry with his undying passion to do things right. He constantly questions time-tested and accepted fabrication methods in search of finding a better way. He is extremely resourceful with several of his inventions having been highlighted in industry trade magazines and Web sites.

Recently, Scott formulated an aggressive business plan for a Digital Micro Shop. This technology is designed to allow smaller custom shops to fully embrace technology and fabricate stone digitally. In the beginning of this year, Kasco Stone took delivery of Breton USA’s FabCenter No. 001, Breton’s first such machine in the U.S. McGourley was not only instrumental in the design of No. 001, but he continues to be very involved in the ongoing advancements and improvements made since that delivery.

The current roster of winners of the Stone World Fabricator of the Year Award is as follows:

2009 - Scott McGourley, Kasco Stone

2008 - Paul Menninger, Capitol Granite & Marble

2007 - Ron Hannah, Cadenza Granite & Marble

2006 - Dick Laliberte, Ripano Stoneworks

2005 - G.K. Naquin, Stone Interiors

2004 - Tim and Scott Buechel, Buechel Stone Corp.

2003 - Kip Cameron, Granite-Tops

2002 - George Fox, Luck Stone Corp.

2001 - Fred Becker, Becker & Becker Stone Co.

2000 - Connie and Brenda Edwards, TexaStone Quarries

1999 - Walter Dusenbery, Johnson-Atelier School, Sculpture

1998 - Harold Stobbe, Owen Sound Ledgerock

1996 - Willard Vetter, Vetter Stone Co.

1995 - Chuck Monson, Dakota Granite Co.

1994 - Linus Dingman, Cold Spring Granite Co.

1993 - David Teitelbaum, Cathedral Stoneworks

1991 - Wilbur Bybee, Bybee Stone Co.

1989 - Tony Ramos, New England Stone Industries

1988 - Jim Stengel, Dakota Granite Co.

1987 - David Elliott, Elliott Stone Co.

Additional Photos

Cosentino, a large manufacturer of natural stone and quartz products from around the world, was among the stone producers exhibiting at StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas 2009.

Many exhibitors, such as Granite City Tool, offered visitors demonstrations of its machines and equipment that were on display.

Pearl Abrasive Co. presented its new Tuscan Leveling System to attendees.

The Marble Institute of America (MIA) was prominent in the exhibition hall -- sharing valuable industry information with its members and attendees.

StoneLIVE! - sponsored by the Stone Fabricators Alliance (SFA) - was a popular educational session during the exhibition. Each day, several scheduled one-hour “how-to” demonstrations were presented. Attendees had the opportunity to sit and watch skilled members of the industry demonstrate challenging stone installation techniques.

The MIA held a cocktail for its members at the end of the first day of the show.

Additionally, the SFA also held an after-hour event for its members at the Renaissance Marriot Hotel, which is adjacent to the convention center.

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