B.M.S. and Co. was established in Ortonovo, Italy, in 1981 as a related branch of Simonelli srl, which has been in business since 1936. The company has developed as an innovator in the Carrara stoneworking region - working with architects, contractors and distributors on developing unique product lines, and it has gained a solid reputation over the years. Over the past few years, it has taken its innovations to a new level with the development of the Venezian® finish for granite, which offers a flat surface with a textured feel.

The Venezian finish started with six standard colors that are derived from traditional granite materials. They include Rialto (brown), Polo (light gold), San Marco (blue), Lido (black), Burano (light brown/tan) and Murano (green). This product line is continually increasing based on customer needs. The material has the same durability as polished granite, and B.M.S. points out that a textured surface does not “amplify” the joints and fissures in the final installed product. It is also easier to maintain than polished granite, B.M.S. reports.

The stone is produced using a proprietary method that includes passing the material through multiple slab processing lines. The granite slab lines include a Simec NP 2100 RX, which represents the latest generation of technology.

Equipment also includes an automated resin line for reinforcing material as required. Larger driers can hold up to 36 slabs at one time to speed the resin-application process, and the slabs then move on to receive their final surfacing.

Overall, 85% of production has been shipped to the U.S. over the past two years. G&L Marble of Winston, GA, serves as the company's main U.S. warehouse, and Stone Interiors of Loxley, AL, is the company's national agent. The product is also carried by regional distributors throughout the U.S., and it has been used for both residential and commercial applications around the country.

The Venezian product line has been heavily promoted at trade shows around the world, including Coverings in Orlando, FL, as well as Marmomacc in Verona, Italy, and CarraraMarmotec in Carrara, Italy. This has significantly increased sales of the Venezian products, as sales doubled from 2003 to 2004, and B.M.S. predicts that this year's sales total will once again double the previous year.

In addition to slabs with the Venezian finish, B.M.S. also offers slabs of marble, travertine, onyx and other unique materials. The company has four marble gangsaws from Marioni, and it has also added two new marble gangsaws from

F. Meccanica. The older gangsaws are used for colored materials, while the new models are more suited for the White Carrara varieties. They can also process irregular-shaped blocks as needed.

The slab plant runs multiple shifts, and overall slab production stands at nearly 13,000 square feet per day.

Tile production is carried out at a separate factory in Carrara, which has two tile lines with equipment from Bacci Dino and Levi Tunisi of Italy. The tile plant works with traditional materials such as White Carrara marble as well as travertine and some exotic materials such as onyx. Much of the material is reinforced with resin, and it is further backed with fiberglass netting as needed. Total production is 7,500 square feet of tile per day.

In order to provide an elevated level of quality and customer service, B.M.S. places a great deal of emphasis on tile classification, explained Michele Simonelli of B.M.S. Tiles are closely monitored as they come off the line, and they are separated into various classifications according to shade and physical appearance. The company also provides customized packaging as required.

Simonelli explained that Japan has been a good market for White Carrara marble. Although the Japanese market can be difficult to penetrate at first, the relationships last a long time. Meanwhile, the U.S. has been a solid market for granite and colored materials.

In addition to marketing its materials at trade shows and through its overseas associates, B.M.S. and Co. has been active in promotion on the Internet. A Web site at www.venezian.com has a wealth of information on the Venezian finish, while another site at www.bmsco.net includes an interactive section where users can picture how a stone floor material will look in an actual room setting.