Stone World Blog

Four Expanding Markets You Should Pursue Now

April 5, 2010
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I recently attended my first-ever security industry trade show, ISC West, which took place at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas March 24-26. The show, which connects security product manufacturers with integrators/installers/security officers, was encouraging on several levels.

The expo hall was busy. Attendees were plentiful, and the trade show registered a significant increase in participation from 2009.

The mood was upbeat. Exhibitors and attendees alike talked about their opportunities, rather than their obstacles.

New products and trends were displayed and discussed. While rapid change is uncomfortable, it is great for stimulating sales.

A common theme shared in conference sessions and among exhibitors is that companies are focusing on four sweet spots: health care, education, government, and hospitality.

These are among the few market segments that are growing now, despite a soft economy. Residential, commercial and retail markets will bounce back eventually, but until they do, many companies are plunging head-first into the four sweet spots.

Health care. Put aside the new health care legislation that just passed. Even without it, the health care industry is growing on many fronts. Baby boomers are heading into their golden years in record numbers. This wave is creating huge demands for senior-age treatment. More and remodeled medical buildings spell opportunity for construction pros.

Education. Population shifts, outdated facilities, charter schools and competition among schools of every size and stature are motivating communities to invest in buildings.

Government. One of the earliest results of the stimulus bills is that government is growing, creating new construction and remodeling opportunities. Federal, state and local governments also are “greening up” their buildings in an attempt to reduce energy use.

Hospitality. Hotel chains that previously put off remodeling are finding it necessary to upgrade in order to compete. I now receive some type of email survey after every hotel stay no matter what brand I select. Hospitality execs are fighting aggressively to gain market share. They understand that providing a high-quality, secure environment is crucial to their success.

How can your company get more from these sweet spots?

Set aside time each week to contact the health care, education, government and hospitality businesses in your community. Speak with their operations staff, facility managers, and building engineers. Find out how you can bid on their next expansion or remodeling program. Make sure your company is on their radar by offering free inspections or code compliance analysis.

Savvy leaders figure out where the next wave of opportunity is and position themselves accordingly. Don’t be left out.
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Health care = An increasingly attractive sector for the stone industry

Michael Reis - Stone World Magazine
April 6, 2010
Speaking specifically on the stone industry, all of these markets are critical at a time when the residential sector remains a challenge. This not only applies to general stone importers, but also to specialists such as countertop fabricators, who are now entering new markets such as health care work. I recently interviewed a stone fabricator in North Carolina who relied almost solely on production homebuilding only three years ago, and his firm is now heavily involved in the health care sector -- to the point where he is currenty working on five different health care projects in the Southeast. Fabricators are making inroads in the other sectors as well, and they are finding that other shops in their region are willing to share technology (such as waterjet cutting) to complete a project. As one fabricator said to me last week, "I don't say 'no' anymore. I say 'yes' and then I find a way to make it successful." This mindset can apply to many construction trades.



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