Achieving growth through technology
Even though Granite Emporium of Farmingdale, NY, has only been in business for a little over a year, it is already fabricating and installing an average of six to 10 kitchen countertops a week. Before starting the company, owner Joseph Davi had been in the contracting business for eight years and had always been fascinated by stone fabrication, as he loved the end product fabricated by a natural resource of Mother Nature. After attending a stone industry-related course with Fred Hueston and Keith Graves from The National Training Center for Stone and Masonry Trades, Davi decided to open his own business.
Granite Emporium's 10,300-square-foot facility is equipped with a Zonato bridge saw from International Machine Corp. (IMC) of Holbrook, NY, which has allowed the company to double production and reduce lead time, according to Davi. â€œThe Zonato is the backbone to my business, equipped with a rotating tilting table, laser and automatic programming, it has been the most precise and dependable tool in the shop,â€ he said, adding that the service and support from IMC has been far greater than excellent.
Granite Emporium's employees utilize transportation racks and A-frames from Groves Inc., a Ghines Sector multi-speed hand router purchased from Braxton-Bragg Corp., an Air Box dust collector from ITAL MECC purchased through Delta Tools, a Denver Leader hand router from Denver Corp. - which was purchased through VIC International Corp., hand polishers from Alpha Tools and Metabo grinders. Stone Boss supplies the majority of the company's hand tools, sealers and diamond tools, and the company also has three installation trucks.
In the near future, Davi plans to add a CNC stoneworking center to the shop to increase accuracy and production. â€œWe are gearing up for a CNC,â€ he said. â€œWe already ran the electrical wires and doubled up our compressors, and we have been in talks with AGM.â€
The company's production focuses mainly on the residential sector, with some commercial work consisting of exterior panels for shopping malls, for example. In addition to countertops, the company fabricates vanity tops, fireplaces, bar tops, backsplashes, floors and saddles. Granite Emporium sells granite, marble, limestone, travertine, Silestone and onyx, as well as ceramic and porcelain tile. The company also sells kitchen cabinets and cabinet hardware, which Davi said allows Granite Emporium to serve as a one-stop shop for customers.
The facility contains a 2,000-square-foot showroom and an indoor slab yard, which stocks around 200 slabs. The company purchases its material from four main suppliers, including European Granite, Stoneworld Imports, Saymar Stone and ABC Stone. Davi said he has a hard time getting good material. â€œI often personally visit my suppliers and hand pick inventory.â€
The company's staff is comprised of five fabricators, two installers and two designers - who assist customers with color coordination and backsplash design. New employees are trained by a supervisor, and their work is inspected and scrutinized through each step of the fabrication process, according to Davi.
Davi said it is often difficult to keep up with competition and monthly costs. â€œOverhead costs such as utilities, taxes, insurance, fuel and labor only have increased significantly with time, and yet we have to keep prices of our products down in order to keep up with our competitors,â€ said the owner.
In order to keep up with the ever-changing stone industry, Davi constantly reads information on the techniques of stone fabrication. â€œI also try to attend every stone show to educate myself and my staff with the newest products, tools and fabrication techniques,â€ he added.
Granite Emporium prioritizes customer satisfaction as being its number one goal. â€œWe are extremely professional and follow our high set standards for every job, and it has resulted in a 100% customer satisfactory record,â€ said the owner. Additionally, employees are most proud of their short, seven to 10 business day lead-time, while still paying complete attention to detail, round off corners, radius end, etc.
â€œMy staff's hard work and dedication has made Granite Emporium a successful premier granite shop, and we are always trying to improve where we feel necessary to make ourselves stronger,â€ said Davi.