A stone consumer's experience

August 2, 2011
 My husband and I live in Tallahassee, Florida.  We are currently in the process of remodeling our kitchen after almost 30 years.  We are working with contractor Susan Carey of 7 Gables Construction and Design, and Mike and Becky Trawick, owners of M&L Custom Cabinets.  They have all been in business in Tallahassee for many years.

 After looking locally for granite for countertops and not finding what we had in mind, our contractor told us about MS International.  She knew we were planning a vacation to NC and knew we would be driving through Atlanta, where one of the MS International warehouses are located.  She told us to "pack a lunch" because we would be there awhile, because the warehouse was so huge.

 As we now understand the process, MS International is a distributor and does not ordinarily have many customers visit their warehouse with the goal in mind of picking out granite.

 We arrived at MSI, Inc., which is outside of Atlanta, Georgia, in Austel.  From I-75, in the heart of Atlanta, we drove I-20 west for about fifteen to twenty minutes.  This business is located within a couple of miles from the well-known Six Flags Over Georgia Amusement Park.  The actual address of MS International is:  7950 Troon Circle, Austell, GA 20168.  Our GPS delivered us right to the location.  The website is:  www.msistone.com

 We were very impressed driving up to the MSI warehouse.  In true Atlanta fashion, we were greeted by a beautiful tree lined drive, and lovely landscaping.

As we approached the entrance of MSI, we admired the beautiful slate-type brick paved walkway leading inside.  We now know this entrance stone was just a preview of the many types of landscape stone and other types of beautiful stone we would see inside.

Our contractor had made arrangements for us to meet with Ed Maloney, Sales Manager for MSI.  We arrived at 9:30 AM.  We were asked to sign-in and include name, e-mail address and name of the representative who referred us, plus the name of the fabricator.  We did not know the fabricator so we gave the name of our cabinetmaker.

 After signing in, we were greeted by MSI Sales Manager, Ed Maloney.  Ed introduced us to Angela Logan, a Customer Service representative.  I then asked if it would be OK to take photos, because I was hoping to create a Blog and feature "before and after" kitchen remodeling information and photos.  I was given permission to take the needed photos.

 Originally we had hoped to use white marble for the kitchen countertops.  EVERYONE cautioned against using marble in the kitchen, because it stains and chips so easily.  Reluctantly, we moved on to our next choice, which was granite.

 Since Ed had a meeting to attend, Angela was our guide through the very large warehouse.  She took a note pad to write our choices for #1,#2, #3, etc.  Angela was very patient as we walked down isle after massive isle of so many beautiful colors and choices of granite.  There was definitely something for everyone.  

 As Angela took notes we narrowed our choice down to two possibilities, the River White and the Colonial Gold.  Angela suggested we walk through the warehouse also, to see the stone choices there.  We put on the mandatory hard hats needed for walking through the warehouse; I guess because of heavy duty equipment we saw while in the warehouse.

My husband and I were so impressed with the efficiency and ease of handling of these massively heavy slabs of stone in the warehouse.

 As we followed Angela down the huge long rows after rows of beautiful stone,  we spotted just what we were looking for.  We were only able to see just a small portion of the stone, because in the warehouse, it is not openly on display as in the showroom.  But, we still knew THIS WAS IT!  It had the colors we were hoping to find to match the cabinet color, plus it had a beautiful marble-like, delicate, almost jewelry stone appearance.  Angela could forget about the sheet she was carrying with the two previous choices.

 Angela escorted us out of the warehouse taking us back to Mr. Maloney's office.  He had returned from his meeting.  Angela told him about our choice.  She had noted the bin number and he was immediately able to identify this stone and its location from her information.  We were so impressed with such efficiency.  As it turned out, what we selected was not granite after all, but is called quartzite.  Ed gave instructions to one of the staff to pull the slabs we liked up to the front, so we could see the entire slab.  The employees got busy and before we knew it their equipment had moved that massively heavy stone right up front.

 While we were waiting for the stone to be moved in order for us to get a better view, we visited with Mr, Maloney in his office.  He told us the process to expect and how he would be in touch with the fabricators in our area.  He said he would handle all the details, including arranging for shipping.  

 The employees gave Mr. Maloney the word that they had moved the quartzite and we could all come take a look.

 We confirmed this was just what we were looking for.  It is called MOTHER OF PEARL or MADREPEROLA.  I do wish the photo could show just how delicately beautiful this stone is with its marble-like look.  It was amazing to me that all this stone is mined from the earth.  Actually, I like to think of this beautiful stone as the Lord's artwork.

 We could not thank Ed Maloney enough for all the time he and his staff spent with us.  He was nice enough to give us a catalog showing MSI Premium Natural Stones.  We saw from the catalog that the Atlanta business is not the only one.  They also have MSI located in Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Edison, NJ, Houston, Kansas City, Northern California, Phoenix, Puerto Rico, Southern California, South Florida and Toronto, Canada.  They also have purchasing offices in India, Turkey, China and Brazil.

 As we left through the reception office I noted the below plaque on the wall indicating this business was featured in Stone World Magazine in 2004.  It was not surprising after what we saw.

 We, for a short time, were able to be part of another whole world we knew nothing about, and we enjoyed meeting unforgettable and special people in the process.  What a treat our trip to MS International was for us.