While difficult economic times are causing many stone industry professionals to put a halt on expansion and equipment investments, Stone Wholesale, Inc. of Fort Collins, CO, is proceeding optimistically with steady growth. “When I began in this business in the early 1980s, the economy was in recession, just as it is now,” said Jim Striggow, company president. “Despite the recent downturn, Stone Wholesale is carefully moving forward with plans of new quarries and retail-showcase facilities.”
“The permit area for Stone Wholesale’s current Brownstone quarry, located near La Porte, CO, increased in August 2008 from 9.9 to 58.75 acres,” said Striggow. “In addition, I am finalizing plans for two new quarries, including finishing the required state and county mining permit applications. Though the process to obtain the permits takes approximately two years, I think the timeframe is worth it. At 640 acres apiece, and within 10 miles of the existing quarry, each new site will diversify Stone Wholesale’s product line with a variety of colors of high-quality sandstone, helping to insure the company’s longevity.”
Striggow went on to explain that the company is fortunate to be within 20 miles of the Cee-Jay Tool factory. “The Chris Cutters and V30 thin veneer saw not only are high-quality pieces of equipment, but the company provides personable service and complete parts availability at our back door,” he said.
“As markets and trends of the stone industry have changed, so have we,” said Striggow. “It’s an exciting and ever-changing adventure. ‘Make good things happen’ has always been my goal.”
According to Striggow, the company produces sandstone from two distinct strata of the quarry, which are called “Brownstone” and “Cherokee.” “Both layers feature a range of colors and textures bearing a rustic, earthy appeal,” he said. “A formal precision approach is achieved when Brownstone is sawn to dimension. After the sawing process, Brownstone is called ‘Watermark Buff’ because the blocks are quarter-sawn to expose the watermark patterns.”
The Rock Garden is an expression of creativity with stone, according to Striggow. “In fact, the facility’s tag line is ‘Rock Solid Inspiration,’” he said. “Geometric works with representative titles such as the ‘Helix,’ ‘Orb’ and ‘Pyramid,’ are made from Brownstone and Cherokee and can be converted to water features.”
“Another hot Rock Garden product is the ‘Boulders of Fire,’ a decorative outdoor fire pit constructed with a gas flame,” said Striggow. Because of the variety of stone bases from which they are carved, including moss rock boulders, ‘Boulders of Fire’ are custom made and one-of-a-kind.”
“I’m continually amazed by the excitement that the garden generates,” said Striggow. “But, the public reaction is natural - given the excellent ideas our people continue to come up with and the new types of stone that will soon be available to us.”