Starting small and expanding with the family

October 1, 2004
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January 1996 was the start of what is now a family-owned, two-building stone fabricating company called

McDonald Marble & Stone, Inc. The company's roots, however, date back to the 1950s, when Bob McDonald went to an apprentice program for marble masonry and began working on local projects in the New Albany, IN, area. After many years of working on bigger projects and working with larger companies, McDonald established his own business in 1996 in New Albany as a fabricator and installer of kitchen countertops.

“He actually started in a small rented 1,600-square-foot building, built his own bridge saw to do the fabrication, and was his only employee for about a year,” said co-owner Beverly McDonald. “The following year he hired his son, Mark, who helped him with the installations. A year later they moved into a larger 4,000-square-foot building around the corner. Then Bob's daughter, Tracy, and daughter-in-law, Kristin, came into the business, and they were in that building for about four years, fabricating 6 to 8 kitchens a week.”

In 2002, McDonald Marble & Stone, Inc. moved into two new buildings in New Albany. The main building is a 14,200-square-foot facility consisting of a 2,300-square-foot fabrication area, a retail showroom and the warehouse where the slabs are located. The second building is an 8,000-square-foot structure for tile storage.

The team at McDonald Marble & Stone, Inc. consists of 23 employees, with eight workers in the field performing the installations and templating, six people in the office and about 10 in the fabrication shop. “Our employees are specialized,” said McDonald. “We have specific employees that do the installation, specific ones that polish and specific ones that do templates. We hire from in-house referrals, and we have gone to an agency, but we have a lot of people who want to work for us. A lot of people really come to us looking for jobs.”

Once an employee is hired, training is in-house as well. “The most experienced worker will train the

new employee,” explained McDonald. “Mark McDonald can train anyone in any of the positions because he has fulfilled all those positions at one time or another.”

As for the machinery on the premises, the company owns two Marmoelettromeccanica America bridge saws from Regent Stone Products of Virginia Beach, VA, a CMS/Brembana CNC stoneworking center, a bed polisher from International Machine Corp., of Holbrook, NY, a Coblam water cycling unit, a Coch machine for processing bowl holes and various vacuum power lifters.

“We needed to increase production, that is why we purchased the [second] bridge saw and the CNC machine,” explained the owner. “We wanted to add quality to our edges with the CNC machine, and we expect the increase to go up to about five more kitchens a week with the bridge saw.”

McDonald Marble & Stone, Inc. manufactures products such as kitchen countertops, fireplace surrounds, vanity tops, tub surrounds and any custom items such as dining room tabletops, coffee tables or windowsills. While the company mostly does residential work, it also does some commercial projects. For these projects, the inventory they have is about 90% slabs, and 10% tiles. “We buy a lot of our slabs overseas from Europe,” said McDonald. “We buy a lot of material from South America. We do buy locally or regionally whenever we have a customer that wants something that we don't happen to have. There are suppliers that we use in Georgia and Ohio.

“We go to most of the trade shows like Coverings to find out new products. We have been to Italy and Brazil to look at new stones,” McDonald continued. “We have distributors to call on us to bring us samples of new material.”

End box

McDonald Marble & Stone, Inc.
New Albany, IN
Type of work: Kitchen countertops, fireplace surrounds, vanity tops, tub surrounds, custom items
Machinery: Two Marmoelettromeccanica America bridge saws from Regent Stone Products, CMS/Brembana CNC stoneworking center, International Machine Corp. bed polisher bed, Coblam water cycling unit, Coch machine for bowl hole processing; vacuum power lifters; 2 Brehob overhead cranes
Number of employees: 23
Production rate: 15 to 18 kitchens per week

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