Expanding from fireplaces to countertops
Based in Powells Point, NC, Currituck Stone Inc. specializes in the installation and fabrication of natural stone mainly for fireplaces and kitchen countertops in local homes. To this day, the company, founded in 1998 by Hunter Redford and his business partner and wife, Terry, remains a self-described â€œmom-and-popâ€ shop establishment.
While Redford was growing up, his father was a contractor, which is how he first fell into the stone industry. As a young child, he would serve as a gofer between his father's construction
sites and local lumberyards, picking up materials needed for a job. At 15, Redford began to work for his dad's friend -- a brick mason for his father's company -- where he was in charge of mixing mortar and stocking blocks
From 1980 to 1981, he attended Chowan College in Murfreesboro, NC, where his goal was to get a mathematical degree in hopes of becoming an accountant. Soon thereafter, Redford stopped attending school, and obtained an apprenticeship working for Tim Norman at Benefit Masonries. â€œThey were the company I worked for the longest,â€ said Redford. â€œThey had a high level of determination to provide quality masonry work. I really benefited from the experience.â€
For the next five years after completing the apprenticeship, Redford worked as a supervisor on his dad's construction sites. Soon thereafter, his father retired, and in 1989, Redford moved to Hatteras Island in Rodanthe, NC, where he met Tim Bowler from Quality Installation -- a company that made templates for countertops, fireplaces, walkways, etc. -- which was based out of Bowler's truck. According to Redford, the company â€œshowcased excellent stonework.â€
Setting out aloneFrom 1989 to 1996, Redford worked on and off for Bowler, and eventually decided to go into business for himself. In 1997, he founded Redford's Masonry, where he began install-
ing natural stonework, with a Marmoelettromeccanica Master 3000 portable router from Regent Stone Products of Virginia Beach, VA, as the primary piece of equipment.
â€œI began fabricating Indiana limestone from Michael & Sons of Bloomfield, IN, as well as Tennessee Crab Orchard sandstone and Pennsylvania Bluestone. I was incorporating the natural stones into fireplaces, steps and essentially anywhere I could highlight my stonework,â€ said Redford. â€œI established a name for myself by doing showcase fireplaces, which are still my niche today.â€
In 1998, Redford changed the company name to Currituck Stone Inc., which he established as a small retail stone yard when he purchased 1 acre of land on Highway 158 in Powells Point, NC. â€œFor me, it was the American Dream,â€ he said. His wife, Terry, became his equal business partner, handling the bookkeeping and financial aspects of the company. Redford also bought a 12-x 24-foot building with a fenced-in yard that he uses for storage. From here, he slowly built his business up to its current status. â€œEvery day is a learning experience for me,â€ he said. â€œI believe that it is important to personally shake hands and establish relationships with the people I am dealing with. This way, I can get a real understanding of the materials and the expectations of both myself and my customers, so that we are not disappointed when we receive or produce a product.â€
Expanding into countertopsCurrituck Stone Inc. has only recently become a fabricator of countertops. â€œI am just now in the early stages of my fabricating work with granite and marble,â€ said Redford. â€œI visit other people's factories and shops to learn about the different technology, and about the techniques and approaches other companies use to install stone. I also attend stone exhibitions to see the new equipment that is out there.â€
He added, â€œTo me, picture framing fireplaces and incorporating natural stone and slab material is a more difficult prelude to fabricating marble and granite countertops. I was lucky enough to have great experiences beforehand, which have provided me with the necessary prep work for where I am at now.â€
In 2002, Redford expanded his factory by constructing an approximately 1,900-square-foot building. Working alone,
he laid approximately 3,500 12-inch cinderblocks for the building, which took about a year and a half to complete. Over the years, Redford has slowly purchased more and more machinery. The factory
is currently equipped with a Marmoelettromeccanica America bridge saw from Regent Stone Products, two Marmoelettromeccanica Master 3500 diamond routers, which are also from Regent Stone Products, a 2-ton overhead crane from Thomas M. Brown Co. in South Carolina, several Flex and Makita hand-held water-fed polishers, two Alpha hand-held air driven tools and a Wiggins forklift.
Redford, being a naturalist, does not see the point in using faux stone. â€œI want nothing to do with it,â€ he said. â€œThere are so many beautiful natural stones that God has created. When I visit quarries and shops, I literally have to be dragged out because I am so mesmerized by the beauty of the stones -- especially marble, granite and onyx. I have been blessed with this talent and capability to visualize a job before its been completed, which has allowed me to provide such quality work.â€
As the owner of a mom-and-pop shop, Redford, like most shop owners, encounters problems on a daily basis. â€œAs a small shop, we still have to compete with bigger shops that have been in business longer,â€ he said. Currituck Stone Inc.'s factory is not yet equipped with CNC machinery, but in the near future, Redford plans to make the valuable investment. He also hopes to purchase a Marmo Meccanica 711M flat edge polisher machine because he feels it would be cost- and time-efficient. â€œIf I could afford all the necessary tools required for the job, all at once, I probably wouldn't be doing stonework; or any work for that matter,â€ he said. Over the next few years, Redford
also hopes to build a large showroom/warehouse where he can display and store his marble and granite.
As the manager of the stone yard, Terry's brother-in-law, Al Bobb, drives the company delivery truck and deals with sales and inventory.
Recently, the Currituck Stone Inc. crew completed a job for former professional baseball player Steve Farr. â€œWe installed an Indiana limestone mantel above his fireplace,â€ said Redford. â€œIt was a huge challenge because the piece weighed 1,900 pounds.â€ However, the company was undaunted by the task, as Redford believes that the more difficult a project is, the better the sense of accomplishment, which he loves.
Currituck Stone Inc. mainly focuses on high-end residential projects, but it is Redford's hope that the company will soon be recognized by the commercial industry. â€œMy goal is not to just focus on one sector of the trade,â€ he said. â€œI didn't want to simply focus on marble and granite countertops, or just fireplaces. I want to be able to walk in to a house and complete the whole stone package, the kitchen countertops, the fireplace surrounds, the stone steps stairs, etc. I want to provide a 'one company did it all' type situation.â€
The company currently holds many accounts with wholesalers, including Custom Stone in Virginia Beach, VA, Fleet Importers in Portsmouth, VA, and Marva Marble & Granite, Inc. in Suffolk, VA.
â€œMy reward is not just finances, but for the love of what I am doing,â€ said Redford. â€œQuality work is not a drop line, but it is a way of life.â€
End boxCurrituck Stone
Powells Point, NC
Type of work: Fireplaces, residential kitchen countertops
Machinery: Regent Stone Products/Marmoelettromeccanica America bridge saw; two Regent Stone Products/Marmoelettromeccanica Master 3500 routers; Thomas M. Brown Co., 2-ton overhead crane; Flex and Makita hand-held water-fed polishers; two Alpha hand-held air driven tools
Number of Employees: 7
Production Rate: 1.5 projects (fabricated/installed) per week