Marketing to the California building sector
“The company has been here since 2002,” said Gil Rangel, President of Marble Palace, Inc., who owns the company with business partner Ramiro Chavez. “We started with cultured marble back in the housing boom of 2004 to 2006. [A total of] 99.9% was new construction.”
Today, Marble Palace has become a primary source of Piedrafina marble, which contains 95% recycled marble combined with polyester resin binders and pigments. The material has become so popular that it now comprises 80% of the company’s business — with 7,500 square feet produced on a weekly basis. “We cut 40 slabs a day — 35 to 40 tops,” said Rangel, adding that Marble Palace provided tops to 2,000 houses in 2010, in addition to its kitchen and bath business.
Like many fabrication businesses, the company experienced its share of struggles during the economic downturn, but it was determined to continue on a successful business path. “We hit bottom in 2007,” explained Rangel. “We laid people off. Now we have been growing, and we have as many workers now as we did during the boom.”
Total personnel consists of 65 people, including 40 shop workers and seven installation crews with two men in each. In addition to Piedrafina, weekly production includes 900 square feet of natural stone and quartz surfacing.
Machinery in the fabrication facility includes a Marmo Meccanica HTO-1B bridge saw, two Coch C 34 bridge saws, a Coch LF 12T multi-head line polisher and a Sassomeccanica backsplash machine polisher from SassoAmerica LLC of St. Louis, MO. Both polishers are equipped with the Terminator brand of polishing wheels from Continental DIA Diamond Products of San Carlos, CA. “They have one of the better products out there, and they are competitively priced,” said Rangel.
Also, since Stone World’s visit, the company has added a Breton CN 400 dual-table CNC stoneworking center. Plans are also in the works to purchase one more in the near future.
Marble Palace’s customer base spans almost 500 miles. “We market to builders from Napa to Monterey,” said Rangel. “[A total of] 65% of our business is new construction, and the rest is kitchen and bath dealers. We stock 350 slabs — 45% is natural stone.”
Additionally, the company is a direct importer of Diamante Quartz surfacing and also carries the line of Caesarstone quartz surfacing from Caesarstone of Van Nuys, CA.
According to Rangel, customer service is a priority at Marble Palace. The company maintains a professional staff that is ready and willing to help customers with any technical support. “We stand behind customer service,” he said.
Marble Palace, Inc.
Type of work: primarily new home builder construction
Machinery: a HTO-1B bridge saw from Marmo Meccanica of Italy, two C 34 bridge saws and a LF 12T multi-head line polisher from Coch S.A. of Buenos Aires, Argentina, a Sassomeccanica backsplash machine polisher from SassoAmerica LLC of St. Louis, MO, a CN 400 dual-table CNC stoneworking center from Breton of Italy, and the Terminator brand of polishing wheels from Continental DIA Diamond Products of San Carlos, CA
Number of employees: 65 people, including 40 shop workers and seven installation crews with two men in each
Production rate: 7,500 square feet of Piedrafina recycled marble per week, 900 square feet of natural stone and quartz surfacing per week