After 48 years in the stone fabrication business, Dixie Cut Stone & Marble, Inc. of Bridgeport, MI, has shut down its stone-processing division. The company - originally founded by John Hoffmann in 1960 - was purchased by Oldcastle Architectural Products Inc. in 2002. Oldcastle, which is a global conglomerate of building product manufacturers and subsidiaries, provides architectural masonry and concrete products - including the distribution of architectural block, glass, precast concrete, masonry and exterior hardscaping products - throughout North and South America and Europe.

Although Dixie Cut Stone & Marble, Inc. is no longer fabricating stone, the company will continue to sell retail stone products, such as flagstone, cultured stone and veneers under the new name of Dixie Distributors. Many loyal customers, however, will miss the company’s custom stone products. “This is a great disappointment to me as a contractor/installer,” said Dave Nelson of Nelson Stone in Beulah, MI. “They had great facilities, excellent talent, timely delivery and high-quality finished products. Having grown up in Saginaw and spending the last eight years in Traverse City, MI, I am sorry to see a venerable business collapse.”

In addition to the production of granite countertops, Dixie Cut Stone & Marble, Inc. ran a strong limestone division comprised of skilled craftsmen, who worked on detailed work for both residential and commercial projects. The hand-carved architectural elements included everything from a simple hearth or sill to an ornate fireplace or door surround.

John Hess, who was lead stone carver and project manager for Dixie Cut Stone & Marble, Inc., along with Bill Hopp - a 15-year veteran of the company - have partnered to run Carved in Stone, Inc., which is located in Freeland, MI.

“I had never dissolved my company,” explained Hess. “The two of us got together when Oldcastle closed the fabrication down. Bill is handling all veneers and straight-run pieces, and I am handling all the ornamental work.”

Hess is among a small number of professional stone carvers that remain in the U.S. “We are still out there,” he said, explaining that he is a member of the Stone Carvers Guild. “We only have 27 professional members - from California to Vermont.”