Whenever I attend a major U.S. stone industry event, one of the first things I circle on my calendar is the “Fabricator Forum,” where industry members gather and present their issues to a panel of industry experts. These forums generally do not have a rigid agenda, and they sort of follow a “Town Hall” format, where people share their problems (and hopefully solutions) with their peers.
Now that we’re in the middle of “Trade Show Season” -
with StonExpo and Coverings taking place within a span of two months - I find
myself continually writing about the various seminar programs for the stone
Every January, Stone World presents its annual Fabricator
Market Forecast, where hundreds of stone fabrication professionals from around
the country present their expectations for the coming year as well as their
feelings for the long-term.
At a time when the international stone industry is
scrambling on a global level - where it seems that no port is safe from this
economic hailstorm - Italy
has managed to ride out the crisis by maintaining its position as an innovator
in all things stone.
A decade ago, I traveled to the famed Giallo Veneziano
quarry in Brazil -- via helicopter -- and immediately counted it among the most
interesting places I visited while doing this job. To see an entire mountain of
granite being worked by nearly 100 people was a sight I will not forget.
With fabrication shops working on tighter margins than ever before, many shop managers and owners are eliminating unnecessary cost by increasing efficiency. Recently, I conducted a roundtable on increasing shop efficiency with members of the Stone Fabricators Alliance (SFA), which can be found on page 62 of this issue.
As I walked around two of the major international trade fairs earlier this year - Coverings in the U.S. and the Vitória Stone Fair in Brazil - major exporters were telling me that sales to the American market had decidedly increased for the first quarter of 2010.
Over the past few months, my travels to international trade shows have given me the opportunity to sit down with some of the world’s major stone producers to gauge the current market conditions. Not surprisingly, many of these suppliers are based in Brazil. And for the first time in awhile, their mood is upbeat.
In this issue of Stone World, check out content about an office tower in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, which straddles the city’s business and fashion districts. Also read about Tab India, which is another recognized stone producer from India. Through the years, the company has invested heavily in its quarrying and fabrication operations.