Stone Column

Stone Column:
Dropping the “Good Old Boys” tag

June 8, 2004
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
At the most recent edition of Coverings in Orlando, FL, last March, I hosted the show's “Fabricators Forum” for the third time. And even though our humble gathering was tucked into a little-used section of the exhibition center, nearly 100 fabricators were resourceful enough to find me. Now, I'm not self-centered enough to think that they took time away from the show floor because they were engrossed with what I would have to say. Rather, they remain interested in meeting with their peers and learning more about our industry.

The Fabricators Forum at Coverings (featured on page 106 of this issue) had a mix of representatives from older stone shops as well as from new ventures. There were also some stone industry veterans who worked in the trade for some time, and are now opening their own facilities.

As in the past, stone fabricators have been commendably generous in sharing information with each other, and it appears that there aren't many “trade secrets” out there that folks are keeping to themselves. But I already knew this. The thing that has impressed me in doing these forums has been the level of sophistication within the industry. I'm not talking about the level of machinery in the shops (although that is also at a high level). What I am referring to is the business savvy of the fabricators that I have met.

When I started working at Stone World over a decade ago, the stone fabricators were often referred to as a bunch of “good old boys” for some reason. Truthfully, I think that had more to do with the fabricators' affable personalities than their actual business knowledge, but it was not necessarily a flattering label.

In any case, the vast majority of fabricators that I am meeting in the field and at trade shows are as sophisticated as any other businessmen that I come across in my professional and personal experiences. They are not just good stone fabricators; they are also smart businessmen, employers and even retailers.

The stone fabricators present in Orlando discussed sophisticated bonus plans for their employees that maximized the level of production in their shops, but also made sure that the quality and efficiency of work would not be compromised. Fabricators are also providing their employees with 401k plans, extensive medical and dental benefits and other forms of profit-sharing plans.

They are also gaining knowledge to keep up with developments outside of their sector of the industry. For example, fabricators present at the forum discussed their experiences working with resin-treated slabs as well as quartz surfacing, both of which are becoming more prevalent in the industry and require some special consideration within the fabrication shop. Using specific incidents to illustrate their points, they provided useful information on these products and how to avoid issues when working with these materials in the future.

In terms of technology, the U.S. stone industry is becoming more comfortable with Computer Numerically Controlled machinery, and they are also using electronic templating and estimating systems. Perhaps more importantly, they're sharing their knowledge of these systems with their peers. At the close of the Fabricators Forum, the participants didn't rush for the doors, as one might expect after a 90-minute session. Rather, they began individual discussions with one another, elaborating on issues that were raised at the forum, asking questions about specific pieces of machinery and even inviting each other to their respective shops. This is a good thing, especially at a time when our industry is hosting more newcomers than perhaps ever before. Let's keep it up.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Stone World 

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

November 2013 Stone Products Gallery

Take a look at some of the latest stone industry products.


Stone World Magazine

April 2014 stone world cover

2014 April

In this month's issue of Stone World, check out an extensive preview of Coverings 2014, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in April. Also learn more about various types of limestone that were used to build private residences.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine


2014 Spring

This issue of Contemporary Stone & Tile Design includes our annual focus on Kitchen and Bath design

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Training Program

How formal is your training program for new employees?
View Results Poll Archive

The Stone World Store

How to Polish & Restore Marble Flooring

This video will show you step-by-step how to resurface and polish marble flooring from grinding and removing lippage and scratches to achieving a highly reflective polish.

More Products

Italian Trade Commission Coverings exhibitor preview

Italian Trade Commission logo 2

The Italian Trade Commission is presenting a large group of the most innovative and internationally renowned Italian suppliers of dimensional natural stones. We hope your busy schedule will allow you to join us for a “genuine” espresso in booth N. 4045 and explore the exciting Italian natural stone resources offered by our exhibitors. Check out Italian stone producers exhibiting at Coverings 2014 here!


Stone Industry Education

stone industry educationStone Industry Education is sponsored by Stone World Magazine and Marble Institute of America. The SIE events will help you: strengthen your skills, build your business, and  increase profit in your shop.  Check out to register for upcoming fabricator and installer seminars.


facebook logo Twitter  YouTube