Fabricator Case Studies

Massachusetts fabricator enjoys growth

November 1, 2012

Despite the hard times that many fabricators have felt in recent years as a result of the economy, Metropolitan Cabinet & Countertops in Norwood, MA, has experienced growth in its stone division. Within the past five years, the company has invested in new stoneworking technology and built a “Granite Hallway” to service its customers better.

The company, which was started more than 30 years ago, manufactures and sells cabinets and has a history of processing laminate and Corian countertops. It launched its stone fabrication division in 2003, and today is run by company President Stuart Elfland.

When Stone World first covered Metropolitan Cabinet & Countertops in 2007, the company was utilizing Intermac 4000 and 1500 CNC stoneworking centers and two GMM Eura bridge saws in its production process. While these machines are still in operation, the fabrication facility also currently houses a Fastback flat edge shaper and polisher as well as a Titan 1800 CNC stone center — both from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN. All of the CNC stoneworking centers are equipped with ADI tooling from GranQuartz of Tucker, GA, and vacuum pods from Blick Industries of Laguna Beach, CA.

" We have a lot of repeat customers who trust us and see value in our commitment to high quality and exceptional customer service "

--- Brian Spellman, Stone Operations Manager.

“We bought the Park Fastback three years ago and the Park Titan CNC about a year ago,” explained Brian Spellman, Stone Operations Manager. “The Intermac 4000 is going on nine or 10 years, and won’t run forever. So we wanted to be proactive and have a new machine producing tops now and for the future. We decided to go with an American company this time for their customer service and ease of getting parts. We met with the people of Park Industries at a Coverings show in Orlando, [FL], and felt they best understood our needs.”

Additionally, Metropolitan Cabinet & Countertops purchased two Capco overhead cranes. “Our first crane was installed last year, and that’s been a huge help,” said Spellman. “It’s worked so well that we had another one installed in the shop this past July. Capco has been very good to work with. They showed us several options and found us the best system for our shop.”

Presently, the company has a staff of 20 in its stone department. It primarily focuses its attention on the residential market — fabricating between 10 and 15 kitchens per week, with the average job size being 75 square feet.

“We are doing less new construction, although it is starting to come back,” explained Spellman. “Remodeling has kept our shop going during these lean years. We have a lot of repeat customers who trust us and see value in our commitment to high quality and exceptional customer service.”

At this time, Metropolitan Cabinet & Countertops does not use digital equipment for measuring and templating. “We have met with all of the companies, but we are still using luan,” said Spellman. “The main reason is because we invite our customers to participate in the layout process. I’d say that 70 to 80% come in for material layout. We spend a lot of time making sure they see exactly how their material will be cut. It gets them involved in the process and makes for a happier client.

“Metropolitan really is a one-stop shop,” Spellman continued, adding that the company offers its customers a complete line of cabinets, tiles, sinks and faucets. “Plumbing has grown tremendously,” he said. “Our focus is on Artisan, Kohler and Franke products. The customer has made so many decisions before they get to us, we want to make the process of choosing a sink and faucet simple and easy. Many options are on display in our three showrooms. We offer everything they will need for their project in one location — saving them time and money.”

Spellman explained that Metropolitan Cabinet & Countertops is working with Daltile, and it has many display boards showcasing its product line. “They are a great resource and have been very helpful,” he said.

In another effort to better service its clients, Metropolitan Cabinet & Countertops recently built the “Granite Hallway.” “That is our biggest change,” said Spellman. “It is a customer showroom displaying 30 to 40 rotating colors — three to six slabs per color. Customers don’t have to travel to an import warehouse to view beautiful material.”

The new customer showroom is a step up from the company’s product displays in the past. It used to stock nine basic colors of granite and purchased other varieties as requested by its clients from local distributors.

“We do a fair amount of quartz [too],” said Spellman. “Right now we are doing some commercial work with Zodiaq, and we just did a project with Icestone. We also fabricate Caesarstone and Silestone. Their recycled options have been very popular, and we encourage their use.”

For the most part, Metropolitan Cabinet and Countertops caters to the greater Boston area. “We do travel,” said Spellman. “We do go to Cape Cod, the island — wherever the work takes us. I hate to say no, so our trucks are all over the place.”                

Metropolitan Cabinet and Countertops
Norwood, MA
Type of work: primarily residential
Machinery: a Titan 1800 CNC stoneworking center and a Fastback flat edge shaper and polisher — both from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN; ADI tooling from GranQuartz of Tucker, GA; vacuum pods from Blick Industries of Laguna, CA; Intermac 4000 and 1500 CNC stoneworking centers from AGM and two GMM bridge saws
Number of Employees: 20 (stone division)
Production rate: 10 and 15 kitchens per week, with the average job size being 75 square feet


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