Capitol Granite & Marble of Midlothian, VA, currently operates out of a 14,000-square-foot facility, which is equipped with a variety of state-of-the-art equipment from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN.

In June of 2002, owner Paul Menninger launched Capitol Granite & Marble in Midlothian, VA - a suburb of Richmond, as a stone fabricator and Silestone distributor. The company is currently producing an average of 40 projects a week, and is undergoing a large expansion - which includes a 12,000-square-foot addition to its facility.

“I became involved in the industry approximately four years ago after a poor experience as a retail customer in the purchase of replacement countertops,” said Menninger. “We have been in business 3 _ years now, and do things differently. The foundation of the company is built on quality, customer service and a quick turnaround time using just-in-time manufacturing principles applied to the custom stone industry. We meet our commitments so the customer can plan around us.

The company runs its two Odyssey II CNC stoneworking centers for the entire duration of both 8-hour shifts.
“From the beginning, I had built this company differently,” he continued. “A lot of shops start out small with hand routers and do things the manual way. From the conception, we didn't do that. We started right with automation, which is what I had done in the manufacturing sector in my previous career. I had been making stuff and working with my hands my whole life, and I saw this industry and the opportunities it had.”

According to owner Paul Menninger, there are at least two trained operators capable of running the CNCs per shift, with a few others who can fill in. “That is the beauty of Park machines - they are so simple to operate,” he said.
Contributing to the company's quality production and growth are a number of state-of-the-art machines from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN. The facility houses two Odyssey II CNC stoneworking centers, two Pro-Edge III edge polishers, two bridge saws - a Yukon and a Sierra, a Velocity multi-head edge shaper and polisher and a Wizard radial arm, all from Park Industries.

“First and foremost, we went with Park Industries because of their philosophy of operations,” said Menninger. “They very much parallel my philosophy in doing business, and that is to ensure that the customer is taken care of. Park takes care of me the way a customer should be taken care of. The machines are up and running, and I get immediate attention when one breaks. They have a next-day maintenance policy and they have never failed that. The reliability of a machine is what it's all about in this industry.”

The Odyssey II is used for curved edgework and complex shapes.
The company runs both Odyssey II CNCs for the duration of two 8-hour shifts, and relies on the machine for meeting all of its schedules and commitments, according to the owner. “It's not okay to tell a customer we can't make it today, but will come out tomorrow,” said Menninger. “We give a customer an install day at the time we template, and we meet it, period. The way to make it happen is through Lean Manufacturing principles and machine reliability. The machines have to be working, and they have to be producing a quality product. Park has always been there for us and they really believe in taking care of their customers.”

The shop is also equipped with two Pro-Edge III edge polishers.
Menninger said that there are at least two trained operators per shift who are capable of running the CNCs, with a few others who can fill in. “That is the beauty of Park machines - they are so simple to operate,” said the owner.

Diamond tooling comes from a variety of sources, including Braxton-Bragg of Knoxville, TN, Regent Stone Products of Virginia Beach, VA, and GranQuartz of Tucker, GA.

Capitol Granite & Marble's production is 95% residential, which includes vanity tops and flooring. For this bathroom, the company fabricated 3-cm slabs of Emperador Dark marble with an oversized radius profile for the vanity top, and used the same material for a border on the floor.
An outdoor slab storage area contains anywhere from 400 to 500 Silestone slabs and about 600 to 700 granite slabs at any given time. The company currently produces about 85% natural stone and 15% Silestone. “As their newest distributor in the region, the percentage of Silestone is forecast to increase over the next few years,” said the owner.

The countertops in this residential kitchen feature 3-cm Giallo Veneziano granite with a demi-bullnose edge.
Capitol Granite & Marble markets the retail consumer, as well as the kitchen and bath wholesale market, and approximately one-fourth of the business is direct with the builder in new construction. Furthermore, the company's production is 95% residential.

The company employs a staff of 52, who run two 8-hour shifts. According to Menninger, formal on-the-job training is provided, and before an individual begins work, they must first receive safety training. “We have an apprentice program that duplicates labor on a machine until the individual has been 'certified' to operate alone,” he added.

“We continually try to cross-train employees for their professional development, as well as the flexibility it provides the company,” explained Menninger, adding that the company hires mostly through word of mouth. “Retention is a big thing for us, especially with the investment in training. Prior experience is not a requirement, however, four distinct areas or 'traits' or 'characteristics' are. We give and expect a lot from our people.”

Capitol Granite & Marble fabricated this countertop out of Ubatuba granite, and it features a triple waterfall edge profile.
Capitol Granite & Marble purchases natural stone slabs from a local distributor, and gets Silestone directly from overseas as a distributor.

Menninger finds that the biggest challenge as a fabricator today is “getting the funding required to automate and produce the quality at the price point needed to be competitive in the future.”

The company, which started out in a 5,000-square-foot shop, is currently completing a $2.5 million expansion, which includes the new 12,000-square-foot facility and new machinery, including a Park Fastback vertical edge backsplash machine, double bed CNC and a hybrid waterjet/saw, which are also from Park Industries, as well as a Flow double bed waterjet. In addition, Capitol Granite & Marble is now transitioning to the use of electronic templating from Faro Technologies Inc. of Lake Mary, FL. The first unit was purchased in December, and the company plans to add two more units to the shop this year.

Capitol Granite & Marble

Midlothian, VA

Type of work: countertops, vanities, fireplace surrounds

Machinery: two Odyssey II CNC stoneworking centers; a Fastback vertical edge backsplash machine; two Pro-Edge III edge polishers; two bridge saws - a Yukon and a Sierra; a Velocity multi-head edge shaper and polisher and a Wizard radial arm - all from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN; diamond tooling from Braxton-Bragg of Knoxville, TN, Regent Stone Products of Virginia Beach, VA, and GranQuartz of Tucker, GA; electronic templating from Faro Technologies Inc.

Number of Employees: 52

Production Rate: 40 projects a week