Utah fabricator adapts to a changing market
The company began work in the fabrication business doing laminate countertops in 1976, under the company name Top Craft. Current Co-Owner, Alan Jorgenson, remembers growing up and working for his father, Dave, with his two brothers, Eric and Steve. “Our grandfather was one of the first in the lamination business in Utah, so we’re now at three generations,” he said. “Our dad taught us the trade. We were as helpful as we could be when we were younger.”
Transitioning into stone
Jorgenson explained that somewhere around 1994, the company took on solid surface and then transitioned into quartz surfacing around 2001. Some years later, Bedrock Quartz Surfaces was a full-scale shop for granite and quartz surfacing. Natural stone currently makes up 80% of its business, while the other 20% is quartz surfacing, including products from CaesarStone, Hanstone, Zodiaq and Cambria, among others.
“In 2002, we completely jumped into granite and quartz, hence the company’s name,” said Jorgensen. “Prior to that, we worked in a small shop behind my dad’s home. We had been having a difficult time getting enough laminate work and needed to make some adjustments, so we looked into stone. Park Industries invited us to their facility in St. Cloud, MN. They took us to see several granite fabricators and a quarry after which we decided granite and quartz was the way to go.”
For three years, the company leased a 7,200-square-foot facility that was equipped with a CNC, edger and waterjet as well as a Yukon bridge saw from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN. At that time, Bedrock Quartz Surfaces was planning for a bigger facility as well as machinery and equipment investments.
According to Jorgenson, the current 25,000-square-foot stone fabrication shop took some time to plan and build. Only the Yukon bridge saw was brought over from the initial facility.
Once in the new facility, Bedrock Quartz Surfaces acquired a Northwood CNC stoneworking center from Northwood Machine Manufacturing Co. in Louisville, KY, a Park Velocity single-pass edge finisher, a Park Fastback backsplash polisher, a water treatment system from Water Treatment Technologies of Hampton, NH, and a Flow waterjet from Flow International Corp. of Kent, WA. Two years ago, it added another Northwood CNC. “We really like the software, so we went with the second Northwood CNC so that both CNCs and software were the same,” said Jorgensen. “It enabled us to increase capacity.”
With the addition of the second CNC, Bedrock Quartz Surfaces added more CNC tooling products from Continental Diamond Products, Inc. of San Carlos, CA, which the company also uses for its other machinery, specifically Terminator products. “After trying several other tooling brands, we shifted to using Continental almost exclusively,” said Jorgensen. “We found their products performed very well, and their prices are quite good. They are able to re-profile the CNC tools for you as well, which greatly extends their life. We have come to know and appreciate the owners. They’re great people and are most helpful. They’ve pretty much become our source for tools - polishing pads, wheels, tools for the Velocity, Fastback, CNCs, etc.”
The most recent addition to Bedrock Quartz Surfaces’ equipment line was a twin-table Northwood SawJet, which utilizes a waterjet pump and cutting nozzle from KMT Waterjet Systems of Baxter Springs, KS. “We started with a Flow waterjet and it was a big help, but we wanted to increase our speed and capacity, and we were able to do that with the SawJet” said Jorgensen. “We’re able to do curves and complex work on the waterjet with ease. For the most part - if our customers can draw it - we can make it.
“Things are slower [businesswise], but we’re still very happy with the machinery,” continued Jorgensen regarding the decision to add more. “We’re able to have fewer employees because the machines do 80% of the work.”
The shop is also equipped with bridge cranes and jib cranes as well as Manzelli vacuum lifters from GranQuartz of Tucker, GA.
Material is templated using primarily a Prodim Proliner, but PhotoTop is also sometimes used. Digital templating has been the shop’s biggest advancement, according to Jorgenson. “When we went to digital templating, it pushed us to get a waterjet,” he said. To manage jobs and inventory, the company relies on JobTracker software from Moraware of Reno, NV. Jorgenson explained that Moraware fit easily into the company’s operation.
Bedrock Quartz Surfaces employs 21 workers at the moment, including sales, office, installation and fabrication - with some overlap of responsibilities in the fabrication shop. “Our peak was 45 employees,” said Jorgenson. “In our shop, because of downsizing, there’s more overlap now. Some are programmers, and they will help in the shop. They’ll do whatever needs to be done. We do have finish polishers that just polish, though, but it’s a balance.”
The shop currently produces 1,500 square feet of material a week, but it has the capacity for twice that volume. Jorgensen explained that work is tight right now, but the company is handling it the best it can. “We’re doing a lot of advertising,” he said. “We do a lot of work to get each job, but that’s not unique to us.”
Some recently completed projects include the Dakota Mountain Lodge and the Sunrise Escala Lodges - both in Park City, UT. Currently, the company is working on The Montage Resort, also in Park City. “That’ll take us most of this year,” said Jorgenson. “They’re great resort properties. We’re grateful to The Montage. It’s a big job and will be half our business in 2010.”
Jorgensen explained that last year’s revenue was about half of what the company did in its biggest year. “One of our goals is to increase our strength in this new environment and to implement changes that will help us be a better company,” he said. “Being more sensitive to our customers needs and doing more advertising is helping us do well with the changes. We want to keep growing. We have less than half the employees we previously had, but we’re still doing all right. We’re happy to be in the stone business. We have some great people to work with and our employees are outstanding.”
Sidebar: Bedrock Quartz Surfaces
West Jordan, UT
Type of Work: commercial and residential work using 80% natural stone and 20% quartz surfacing
Machinery: Yukon bridge saw, Velocity single-pass edge finisher and Fastback backsplash polisher - all from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN; two CNC stoneworking centers and a dual-table SawJet bridges saw/waterjet combination from Northwood Machine Manufacturing Co. of Louisville, KY; waterjet pump and cutting nozzle from KMT Waterjet Systems of Baxter Springs, KS; a water treatment system from Water Treatment Technologies of Hampton, NH; a Flow waterjet from Flow International Corp. of Kent, WA; tooling from Continental Diamond Products, Inc. of San Carlos, CA; bridge cranes; jib cranes; Manzelli vacuum lifters from GranQuartz of Tucker, GA; a Prodim Proliner from Prodim USA of Vero Beach, FL; JobTracker software from Moraware of Reno, NV
Employees: 21, including sales, office, installation and shop workers
Production rate: 1,500 square feet of material a week -- with capacity for twice that volume.