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Run by the husband-and-wife team of Lester Swick and Jean Marie Schneider, Custom Marble & Granite of Butler, PA, relies on professional experience and technology to process stone and quartz surfacing for commercial and residential work across Western Pennsylvania.
Swick has experience that goes beyond countertops, as he has also processed and installed stone for wall cladding and mausoleum work. “I started building mausoleums 20 years ago, and I did that for 15 years,” Swick said. “I opened my own shop in 2007, and started with a rail saw and hand tools. We added a bridge saw 18 months into it.”
The facility is 13,000 square feet, and machinery includes a Sierra bridge saw from Park Industries, which is equipped with a tilting table.
Equipment also includes a Speed 3 CNC stoneworking center from CMS Brembana. The machine was purchased in April of last year, and it was up and running by July. “It is a second-hand machine, and Mike Yates [of Counter Solutions in Jackson, TN] actually found it for us. It is a 2004 model, and it only had 800 hours on it when we got it.”
The CNC features vacuum pods from Blick Industries and Terminator tooling from Continental D.I.A. “Eric Pate [from Continental] set us up, and he’s been great to work with,” Swick said.
Material is maneuvered around the shop using a vacuum lifter, which is attached to a jib crane. The company also has an AT (All-Terrain) 2 ProCart from Omni-Cubed.
Custom Marble & Granite maintains an inventory of slabs on site, and it also buys through distributors. The company processes a total of three projects per week — including residential and commercial work — and it has a total of five employees in the shop, who also complete the installations. In addition to the shop/field crew, Custom Marble & Granite has two employees in the office, including Schneider, who has experience in business management.
As testament to the quality of its workmanship, Custom Marble & Granite’s crew of Swick, Chris Purdy and Ronald Twentier won the “Crews that Rock” contest by StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas. Their winning entry was a high-end kitchen display for a television show on home design — featuring perimeter counters of 3-cm Black Galaxy with an ogee edge profile, and an island of 2-cm African Tobacco step stacked over ogee with an integrated apron front sink with mitered walls for a seamless look.
Sales and marketing
Custom Marble & Granite’s sales region spreads across a 40-mile radius of Western Pennsylvania, from Northern Pittsburgh to the southern hills. “We sell directly to the public for most of our residential work,” Swick said. “We also sell to a few builders. Most of our jobs are around 75 square feet of work, and they’re generally remodeling projects. We’ve been fortunate in that we never really felt the recession here like in some other parts of the country.”
The company makes use of the Internet in marketing itself to the public. It has extremely high ratings on Google, Yahoo! and other customer-review sites, and is also draws interest from its website at www.custommarblegranite.com, which showcases finished projects in a broad range of materials and edge details.
In terms of commercial projects Custom Marble & Granite processes material for office buildings, hotels, schools, and mausoleums.
Swick and Schneider are also involved in the Stone Fabricators Alliance, sharing information, experiences and problem-solving advice with their fellow fabricators.
Custom Marble & Granite
Type of work:Countertops and other stonework for residential and commercial clients
Machinery: Speed 3 CNC stoneworking center from CMS Brembana, which is equipped with pods from Blick Industries of Laguna Beach, CA, and Terminator tooling from Continental D.I.A. of San Carlos, CA; Sierra bridge saw from Park Industries and St. Cloud, MN; AT (All-Terrain) 2 ProCart from Omni-Cubed of Placerville, CA
Production Rate: three projects per week — including residential and commercial work
Number of Employees: seven, including five on the shop/installation team