Supplying a broad region of clients

November 1, 2003
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CoratoStone's location in Olyphant, PA, is at once a blessing and a curse. On one hand, there is not a great deal of competition in their area of Northeastern Pennsylvania. On the other, the metropolitan area of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre only provides a portion of overall customer demand, requiring the company to service clients as far as two hours away on a regular basis.

“It's our friend, and it's our enemy, too,” explained Pat DeSavino, the Managing Partner of CoratoStone, who said the company sells primarily to kitchen and bath dealers. “ We basically service any dealer within a 100-mile radius.”

CoratoStone was formed as a subsidiary of DeSavino & Sons, which is a fabricator of solid surface products such as Corian. DeSavino's father, Nicholas DeSavino emigrated from Italy to America in 1954 and began working in cabinetry and furniture. For the next 32 years, the company operated in that trade as a family-owned business, and it began working with DuPont solid surface countertops in 1984. From there, the company moved into the wholesale trade in 1990. The latest move came in August of 2001, when it opened a new stone division, CoratoStone, which is named for the Italian city where the family's matriarch was raised. Today, in addition to Pat DeSavino, who serves as secretary of DeSavino & Sons as well as CoratoStone, other officers include Dino DeSavino, who is president of both companies, and Mario DeSavino, who is vice president of both companies.

The shop processes natural stone as well as DuPont's engineered quartz product, Zodiaq. Equipment includes a Comandulli Omega 60 edge polisher, a bridge saw and an Intermac Master Stone CNC stoneworking center, all of which were purchased from AGM of Charlotte, NC. Edges are also processed with a Ghines Sector portable edging machine, purchased from Braxton-Bragg of Knoxville, TN.

Pat DeSavino explained that they visited different fabricating shops to see the equipment at work, and they also received advice on tooling from the DuPont Zodiaq engineers. “A lot of it is the same tooling,” he said. “Some abrasives are different, but the routers and saw blades are the same.” At CoratoStone, the Alpha Ceramica EX is used exclusively for Zodiaq, the Viper from Braxton-Bragg is used for natural stone, and the Viper Elite from Braxton-Bragg is used for both.

In November of 2002, the CNC router was added as customer demand increased. “It's a necessary piece of equipment for a production shop,” Pat DeSavino said, adding that the machine has significantly reduced the amount of labor hours required for sink cutouts, radius work and the more intricate work that were previously done by hand. Currently, Ryan Caprioli runs the CNC machine for CoratoStone, and there is a backup operator at DeSavino & Sons. To covert hard templates into an electronic format, which is required to program the CNC unit, CoratoStone also purchased a digitizing table “Our company also uses photo templating, which eliminates the need for hard templates and some dealers are sending us [digital] files as well,” he said.

All of the processing operations in the shop are done wet - whether it is granite or Zodiaq. Water is processed with a DEP 200 system, purchased from Marmo Meccanica USA of Southfield, MI.

A total of 10 employees are at work at CoratoStone 's shop, and there are 52 employees company-wide - up from 12 in 1997. The company also has four trucks with installation crews, and workers in the field install both Corian and natural stone. There are also three templaters who work for both the Corian and stone division.

The biggest challenges for CoratoStone are with personnel issues, including employee attendance and training. Workers require a month of training, and they practice on scrap stone before they contribute to production. “Skills and personality levels vary, and some people will only go so far,” he said. Material handling is another day-to-day challenge, and toward this end, the company utilizes a jib crane and a 2-ton overhead crane.

Currently, the workload at CoratoStone is 70% natural stone and 30% Zodiaq, and Pat DeSavino pointed out that they are currently seeing “explosive growth” in the stone industry. The stone division is fabricating and installing 10 to 15 countertops per week, depending on the size and complexity of the job. But Pat DeSavino pointed out that the quality is just as important as the product totals. “We're not the cheapest, but we're really big on customer service,” he said. “We have to balance between getting the work out to pay for our overhead while also making sure that every job that goes out is flawless.” But even with this philosophy in mind, increasing production is a short-term goal. “We can really do 20 to 25 countertops with the equipment we have here,” he said. “We want the CNC to do two to three kitchens per day and also keep the handwork and other equipment going as well.”

End box:
CoratoStone (division of DeSavino & Sons), Olyphant, PA

Type of work done: Countertops for residential projects and some commercial in both natural stone and DuPont Zodiaq engineered stone

Machinery: AGM/Intermac Master Stone CNC machine; AGM/Comandulli Omega 60 edge polisher; AGM bridge saw; Braxton-Bragg/Ghines Sector portable edging machine; various hand tools

Number of Employees: 10 (in stone shop)

Production Rate: 10 to 15 kitchens per week (in stone)

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