Over the past 85 years, C.L. Frost Inc. of Sand City, CA, has evolved from a roofing company to a tile company, and eventually incorporated a stone department into the business as well. Presently, the company fabricates about 700 square feet of slabs a week for various projects, including high-end residential kitchens as well as some larger commercial work.

In 1920, the company was established as a roofing company, during which time owner Charlie Frost began to dabble in ceramic tile, as he enjoyed the beauty and creativity of the pieces. He then launched a tile department, which continued to flourish throughout the 1930s.

In 1980, Mark Woltmon bought the company, and six years later, he incorporated a stone department, which flourished over the years, taking precedent over the tile department. The stone and tile departments eventually outgrew the roofing sector, which Woltmon sold in 2000.

“Our company seems to regenerate itself every few years, and along with the tile, we also fabricate and install marble and granite countertops, walls and floors mainly in the many high-end homes in the area,” said Woltmon.

According to the fabricator, his current goal is to move away from much of the company's handwork and invest in more machinery. Inspiration for this objective came from the purchase of the Daytona Edge Profiling System from Matrix Stone Products of Rancho Cucamonga, CA. “It is a great machine -- it's everything they said it was,” said Woltmon. “It's more than I ever expected, and I am very happy with it.

It puts out better products at a faster rate and provides much more consistency -- perfect actually.”

According to the owner, high-tech machinery is needed in the stone and tile industry to separate C.L. Frost from the backyard operators. “When we first started doing stone 19 years ago, people were just happy to have granite,” said Woltmon. “Now, everyone wants per-fection.” With target markets including high-end residential areas in some of California's most luxurious neighbor-hoods, including Pebble Beach, Big Sur, Monterey and Carmel, perfection by machines is often expected, according

to Woltmon.

The 8,000-square-foot facility is also equipped with a 541C hydraulic gantry bridge saw from Sawing Systems Inc. of Knoxville, TN, which has been in operation at the shop for the past 15 years. According to Woltmon, the company is almost ready for a new saw, which they plan to purchase from Matrix. In addition, the factory houses a 14-year-old electric polishing machine, which is also from Sawing Systems Inc.

The company's business is comprised of 75% residential and 25% commercial work, which include kitchen countertops, fireplaces, vanity tops and some furniture work for antique shops. “Our base is mainly that of general contractors and their repeat business,” said Woltmon, who added that the company also relies on word of mouth. “I do virtually no advertising,” he added.

In 1985, the company handled a large commercial project at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which features quartzite flooring and Ubatuba granite throughout the restaurant areas. In addition, the company has completed projects for the sidewalks of Monterey's Alvarado Street, the Capitola Mall in Santa Cruz, and various hotels and restaurants in the area, as well as many car showrooms.

Currently, C.L. Frost has a staff of 24 between both the tile and stone departments. “I try to hire people with experience, so I just accept applications to see what work they have done in the past,” said Woltmon. “We provide in-house training and do not require any special schooling. Basically, I start workers from the bottom and graduate them up according to ability and willingness to learn.”

My staff is constantly on the go, and with the market area we cover, it's no surprise,” he continued. “We pride ourselves on being on time constantly with the general contractors schedule and demands we have much to adhere too. Each week is planned in advance with some 'wiggle room' added for those all-too-familiar emergencies.”

Woltmon purchases four containers a year from Italy, allowing for a stock inventory of 200 slabs at a time, which is stored at the company's 4,500-square-foot slab yard. In addition, the company acquires materials from various suppliers. “My customers may select whatever they want,” said the owner. “They don't have to buy from my selection.”

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C.L. Frost Inc.
Sand City, CA

Type of work: residential kitchen countertops, fireplaces, vanity tops, furniture tops, commercial
Machinery: Daytona Edge Profiling System, Matrix Stone Products; 541C gantry bridge saw and electric polishing machine, Sawing Systems Inc.
Number of Employees: 24
Production Rate: 700 square feet of slabs a week for various projects