Planning for Expansion in Oregon

April 28, 2009
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Mike Stouder, owner of Artisan Surface Design in Portland, OR, has seen some of his busiest months, even in today’s market. The company has goals to eventually expand its facility and machinery inventory.


Even in today’s market, the owner of Artisan Surface Design, Mike Stouder, has seen some of his busiest months. The company, which is located in Portland, OR, has expanded its product line in recent years and has goals to eventually expand its facility and machinery inventory.

Three years ago, Stouder, as a builder and developer, started Artisan Surface Design. More recently, the business has been growing in the area market, according to Ben Harris, General Manager of Artisan Surface Design.

A Destiny CNC stoneworking center from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN, which is suited for curved edgework and complex shapes and has a 25-position automatic tool changer, is utilized within the shop. The company has plans to add a second CNC in the next five years.

Some of the bigger changes have come with expanding the company’s product line with quartz surfacing, particularly CaesarStone. “Clients started requesting it, so we developed a relationship with CaesarStone,” said Harris. “We’ve carried it very intently over the last year and a half, and it’s really expanded our market.”

Slabs are cut using an Achilli bridge saw from Braxton-Bragg.

According to Harris, half of the products Artisan Surface Design manufactures are quartz surfacing, and the other half is natural stone. Of the half that is engineered quartz, 60 to 70% comes from CaesarStone. Harris cited the CaesarStone color palette and designer tones as reasons for their success with the material.

Artisan Surface Design has six employees, including four in the shop. Turnaround time is generally two weeks, according to General Manager of Artisan Surface Design, Ben Harris.

Besides already expanding its market, the business has future plans of increasing the machinery inside its facility. Currently inside of Artisan Surface Design’s 5,000-square-foot-shop is a Destiny CNC stoneworking center from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN, which is suited for curved edgework and complex shapes and has a 25-position automatic tool changer. Slabs are cut using an Achilli bridge saw from Braxton-Bragg. “Hopefully within the next five years, we’d like to add another CNC and a ProEdge, as well as stocking slabs,” said Harris.

A showroom allows customers to view product samples.

The shop powers everything using two Ingersoll-Rand rotary compressors. It most recently added a water-recycling system from Beckhart Environmental, Inc. of Kenosha, WI. “Basically we’re reusing water, so it’s given us lower overhead and made us more efficient,” explained Harris.

Artisan Surface Design recently completed a kitchen that features CaesarStone honed Raven on the countertops.

For templating, an LT-55 Laser Templator from Laser Products Industries of Romeoville, IL, is used, as well as PVC strips. The shop has its own installation crew, has four members in the shop and runs one shift.

Principal markets for the company can be found in the Portland area out to the Oregon coast as well as Southwest Washington and Vancouver. “A lot of work we do is for builders and re-modelers,” said Harris. “A lot of them tell each other about us because they’re satisfied. Our turnaround time is generally two weeks.”

The company does 12 to 15 kitchens a month in addition to commercial work, and it has a showroom on site at its facility, allowing customers to view product samples. “We just came out of a condo project with three bathrooms and a kitchen in every unit,” said Harris.

Harris anticipates continuing to gain market share, specifically in the short term. “We’ve seen some of our busiest months lately,” he said. “We’re booking about six months out. We’ve been successful in gaining market share, and we want to continue that trend.

“We really want to continue to do the custom, outside of the box design work we’ve done with CaesarStone,” Harris continued. “It’s about having fun and doing different things with stone in terms of texture and design.”

Sidebar: Artisan Surface Design

Portland, OR

Type of work: residential projects involving 50% natural stone and 50% quartz surfacing

Machinery: a Destiny CNC stoneworking center from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN; an Achilli bridge saw from Braxton-Bragg; a water-recycling system from Beckhart Environmental, Inc. of Kenosha, WI; two Ingersoll - Rand rotary compressors; and an LT-55 Laser Templator from Laser Products Industries of Romeoville, IL

Number of employees: six, including four in the shop

Production rate: 12 to 15 kitchens a month

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