The last few weeks have been busy here atStone World, and it doesn't look like things will slow down until after Coverings. We recently held aMIA/Stone World Educational Seminar: Business Success for Fabricatorshosted by MS International, Inc. at its facility in Edison, NJ, which isn't too far from our office. The workshop drew quite a crowd, and there was an overall positive buzz in the room. So far, it seems 2014 is off to a good start. Fabricators are busy, and many are even looking to invest in machinery.

During the workshop, I had a chance to talk with some fabricators, and most reported that business is steady -- and even increasing. Two New Jersey fabricators that I had written articles on a while back told me about recent expansions, and they are anxious for me to visit again to do a follow-up story -- another reassuring sign that the economy is on the upswing.  

The energy I felt at the workshop wasn't really surprising, because this has been the general feeling since the start of the year. It began with a positive showing at StonExpo, and I also experienced it when I was in Italy with the Stone Fabricator's Alliance.

Even here at the office, we have gotten the impression that the state of the industry is improving. I recently wrote an article about a fabrication business in Ontario, Canada, which has plans to triple the size of its facility this summer. We also contacted a fabricator in Texas, who told us that he is very interested in having an article written about his company, but right now he is starting an expansion project, and he would prefer for us to wait until it is finished. These are things we like to hear.

Another indicator will be next week at Coverings. Will the momentum continue?  I guess we will have to wait to see, but my gut tells me that I will come back with some good things to report. When I was in Italy with the SFA, one of the machinery manufacturers that we visited had a machine that was being shipped to Las Vegas for the show and already purchased. Hopefully, I will see other "sold" signs on machines as I walk the show floor during the four days of the exhibition. We will have a full review on Coverings in an upcoming issue of Stone World, so stay tuned.