Growing a family business with state-of-the-art technology
June 1, 2010
Santarossa Mosaic & Tile Co., Inc. of Indianapolis, IN, is a company steep in history and tradition. Its foundation was built by one man, Domenic M. Santarossa, who migrated to the U.S. when he was 20 years old. Leaving Italy when he was only 13, Santarossa studied the terrazzo and mosaic trade in Bremen, Germany. In 1913, he headed to the U.S., finally settling in Indianapolis in 1920. A year later, Santarossa settled into the building that the company still utilizes today. And although Santarossa Mosaic & Tile has significantly expanded since first opening its doors, the company remains true to its roots - demonstrating high craftsmanship in all of its work. In particular, it has grown its custom design division with the investment of an Integrated Flying Bridge waterjet from Flow International of Kent, WA.
Soon after starting the business, Santarossa partnered with lifelong friend Louis Toffolo, and the company became incorporated in 1924. Constance “Connie” Toffolo, Louis’ nephew, and Carlo Toffolo, Louis’ son, later joined the business. Santarossa’s son, Mario, joined the company in 1948 after completing training as an architect at Notre Dame. Today, a third generation of the Santarossa family is involved in the business. Mario’s son, David, presides as president, while his brothers, John and Robert, also serve as company officers. Additional partners include Todd Ketchum, Richard Collis and David Saylor.
“What started as a one-person company in 1921 now employs over 235 people,” said Todd Ketchum, the C.O.O. of the company. “Our firm’s facilities near Rural and Massachusetts Avenues in Indianapolis has expanded from its original size of 3,168 square feet to over 60,332 on more than 3 acres.”
Ketchum went on to explain that Santarossa Mosaic & Tile’s original product line was terrazzo flooring and natural stone mosaics. “In the ‘50s, the demand for terrazzo flooring declined, so Santarossa added ceramic work to its current offerings,” he said. “By the early ‘70s, marble, granite and other natural stone materials were added with vinyl, carpet and wood flooring being offered in the mid-’80s. By the ‘90s, terrazzo experienced a rebirth as architects, designers and builders rediscovered the floorings beauty, durability and versatility for both commercial and residential applications.”
Investing in technologyApproximately three years ago, the company made the decision to invest in an Integrated Flying Bridge waterjet from Flow International. “We purchased the waterjet for various complex designs, inlays, cutting various materials, greater efficiency and to increase productivity,” said Ketchum. “Production has improved by saving us on production time and our material costs by reducing scraps. It has increased our custom design business.”
In total, 80% of the pieces cut on the waterjet are in stone. The company works on anywhere between 15 to 25 stone projects in a week, depending if they are cut to size or countertops.
In addition to the waterjet, Santarossa Mosaic & Tile also utilizes a variety of other equipment in its production process. Among the lineup of machinery is a Simec 725 CNC bridge saw, a bridge saw from Sawing Systems of Knoxville, TN, a Montresor Lara 60-52 inline polisher, serviced by Salem Stone of Winston-Salem, NC, a Thibaut 108S radial arm workstation, two radial arm polishers from Sawing Systems, a Ty-Sa-Man radial arm polisher, two 7 ½-ton overhead cranes, two 3-ton overhead cranes and Manzelli vacuum lifters from GranQuartz of Tucker, GA.
Currently, the company operates one shift with 16 workers in the factory. Additionally, it employs six installation crews and two “on-call” crews with two installers for each job. “We use more depending on the size of the jobs in our Granite and Marble Division,” said Ketchum, adding that the templating crews use an electronic three-dimensional measuring system from ETemplate Systems of Raleigh, NC, for templating.
Santarossa Mosaic & Tile primarily markets to the Midwest and its surrounding states. Most recently, it has completed a water wall for a Marriott Hotel as well as more than 30,000 square feet of stone applications of all types for both the interior and exterior of a large-scale residence.
In the near future, the company plans to open a 5,000-square-foot Architectural & Design Sample Library, which will serve as a state-of-the-art showroom to house information and samples of the best products the industry has to offer, according to Ketchum. “The facility is designed to be a one-stop resource for architects, designers, builders and the end-user,” he said. “In addition to the library, we are expanding our slab warehouse, which currently holds approximately 4,000 full slabs, to exceed 6,000 full slabs. This expansion will allow us to house more slabs of each stone in addition to providing an even greater selection.”
Also on the company’s agenda is to open a new Northside Showroom in Carmel, IN, in the new Indiana Design Center.
Sidebar: Santarossa Mosaic & Tile Co., Inc.Type of work: high-end customized work for both residential and commercial applications; countertop production
Machinery: an Integrated Flying Bridge waterjet from Flow International of Kent, WA, a Simec 725 CNC bridge saw, a bridge saw from Sawing Systems of Knoxville, TN, a Montresor Lara 60-52 inline polisher, a Thibaut 108S radial arm workstation, two Sawing Systems radial arm polishers, a Ty-Sa-Man radial arm polisher, Manzelli vacuum lifters from GranQuartz of Tucker, GA, two 7 ½-ton overhead cranes and two 3-ton overhead cranes
Number of employees: more than 235 in the entire company, including 16 in the stone fabrication shop, six installation crews and two “on-call” crews with two installers for each job
Production rate: a total of 15 to 25 stone projects per week, depending if they are cut to size or countertops