The Marble Institute of America ended 2007 with a record 2,000 members, up 221 since the close of the previous year. The 2,000th member of the MIA is Merlino Marble & Granite of Clermont, NJ, whose application was received and processed at the MIA headquarters in Cleveland, OH, on December 31, 2007.

The record number of members is nearly triple that of the total when Gary Distelhorst, executive vice president of the MIA, assumed staff leadership of the natural stone industry organization at the start of 2002, when membership stood at 692. During that period, membership growth has averaged nearly 20% per year. Revenue growth has more than kept pace with the increase in dues-paying members, growing from $690,000 in 2001 to $2.24 million in 2007.

“Today’s worldwide membership is a far cry from 25 years ago, when MIA had only 90 members,” Distelhorst said. “In those days, nearly all MIA members operated in the commercial and institutional construction markets. Today, the majority of our members serve the residential market, which has grown dramatically in the last 10 to 12 years.

“Reaching the 2,000 mark is a very significant milestone for MIA,” Distelhorst continued. “This growth is testimony to the strong surge in membership services and products offered to our members. There are still at least another 2,000 to 3,000 potential member companies that could benefit from what MIA has to offer, and provide the fuel to take the membership roster to significantly higher levels.”

Among the highlights of the association’s activities that have helped drive membership upward are industry educational seminars and workshops, a significant and growing library of video and print training materials, aggressive marketing of natural stone products, an industry-wide safety initiative, a new accreditation program and various other services.

“On behalf of the officers, directors and staff of the MIA, we say thank you for the strong show of support from the natural stone industry for the association’s activities and for making MIA the largest natural stone association in the world,” Distelhorst said. “We look forward to continuing our growth in the coming years.”