Fueled by a passion for stone

September 1, 2006
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With the goal of producing high-quality stonework, House of Stone opened its doors in Monroe, NY, approximately a year and a half ago.


Photos by Michael Reis

With more than 30 years of experience in the kitchen and bath design industry, Ray Krok was confident that he possessed the necessary skills to run his own stone fabrication shop. Working side by side with his son, Brian, Krok considered all aspects of starting a new company - including critical factors such as location and equipment - before opening House of Stone in Monroe, NY. The business, which has been in operation for almost a year and half, is flourishing, and plans for expansion are already underway.

The shop is equipped with an America bridge saw, which was supplied by Regent Stone Products of Virginia Beach, VA.
“I have been in the kitchen and bath design business since 1970, and I have always loved granite and stone,” said Krok. “This is something that I wanted to do for several years.”

Krok explained that once the decision was made to start the fabrication business, he began scouting out an ideal location. “I moved to Orange County, [NY], six years ago,” he said. “It's a great area. I'm a city boy, so this is as far north [of New York City] as I will go.”

Initially, Krok thought about renting a facility, but then decided that buying property and building his own shop would be his best option. “It took a little over a year to put the building up,” he said, adding that the facility sits on 5 acres and encompasses about 6,000 square feet of space. Additionally, there is a 2,500-square-foot yard for slab displays and storage.

The shop, which is managed by Brian Krok, includes six full-time workers. “My son Brian is a viable part of this business,” said Krok. “He is really focused. [Also], all of the workers learned the trade in Europe and then came over here. I stress to everyone that quality is the most important thing to me. They know the standards. There is nothing they can't do.”

The saw allows the company to produce between eight to 10 kitchens a week, with the average size measuring between 50 and 60 square feet.

Equipping the shop

When it came time to buy machinery, Krok and his son did their homework before making a purchase. In the end, they went through Regent Stone Products for all their equipment as well as tools and accessories. “We did some research, and they're willing to help,” said Krok.

Brian Krok added that he attended Regent's fabrication training school at their facility in Virginia Beach, VA. “They are the best guys,” he said. “I was certified in quartz surfacing.”

A majority of the finishing work in the shop is done by hand.
Among the equipment that Regent supplied to House of Stone is an America bridge saw, two Marmoelettromeccanica Master routers - versions 2800 and 3500, and six Alpha air polishers. Additionally, the company uses Tenax abrasives and gives each of its customers a Bellinzoni stone care kit, both supplied by Regent.

Slabs are moved into position with a specially equipped forklift.
Currently, the company produces between eight to 10 kitchens a week, with the average size measuring between 50 and 60 square feet. Ray Krok explained that his company works with a number of area builders and remodelers as well as kitchen and bath design centers. “We work in a 50-plus-mile radius,” he said.

House of Stone's market spans from Rockland and Orange counties in New York to areas of Connecticut and New Jersey. It also extends as far east as Long Island, NY. The company employs its own two-man installation crew, which uses luan plywood for templating.

House of Stone's market spans from Rockland and Orange counties in New York to areas of Connecticut and New Jersey. It also extends as far east as Long Island, NY. The company employs its own two-man installation crew, which uses luan plywood for templating.

Material selection

According to Krok, his company maintains an inventory of approximately 30 to 40 slabs. “It's really about displaying and providing a convenience for our customers,” he said, adding that he purchases material from several local distributors. “We basically work with Dente [Trading Co., Inc. of Cedar Grove, NJ]. We go down every month or so and make our selections.”

If customers do not find a stone that they like at House of Stone, then the fabricator sends them to Dente's facility. “They really have a nice selection of stones,” said Brian Krok. “They always have something new.”

In addition to its fabrication shop, the company has a showroom to display its selection of stone products as well as customized pieces it offers, such as this fireplace surround.
When it comes to building a successful stone fabrication business, the Kroks believe that customer service is crucial. “It's all about the people,” said Ray Krok. “You should put your best foot forward.”

Producing high-quality work is also at the top of their list. “It's all about quality workmanship,” said Ray Krok. “I know the market value of products. We are going to be fair. There is always someone less expensive, but there is a reason for it.”

The showroom also features kitchen displays, which provide customers with ideas of the different styles and types of stone countertops that are available.
To further make the experience convenient for its customers, House of Stone also sells sinks to go with the custom-fabricated countertops. Among the sinks in the company's inventory is one that is made of 80% granite from Blanco America.

According to Ray Krok, the company has had nothing but satisfied customers, including several high-profile celebrities who have homes in the area. At the time of Stone World's visit, a Jacuzzi top was being fabricated out of Coastal Green granite for a Soap Opera star.

“Everyone that we have done business with recommends us,” he said. “It gives the business validity. I tell Brian that your word is your bond. To me, that is what your business is about. It's a passion I have. I absolutely love it.”

House of Stone: Monroe, NY

Type of work: production home and remodel kitchens as well as customized pieces such as fireplaces and tub surrounds
Machinery: an America bridge saw, two Marmoelettromeccanica Master routers - versions 2800 and 3500, and six Alpha air polishers supplied by Regent Stone Products of Virginia Beach ,VA
Number of Employees: six full-time workers in the fabrication shop; one two-man installation crew
Production Rate: between eight to 10 kitchens a week, with the average size measuring between 50 and 60 square feet

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