A few months ago, I drove up to Massachusetts to visit Cumar, Inc., who is featured in this edition of theStone WorldFabricator E-News. This company was actually one of the first trips I made to a fabrication shop back in the late 1990s. A lot has definitely changed since my first visit, but it wasn't always an easy road, as owner Ivo "Angelo" Cubi shares.Cumar, Inc

Since Cumar started in 1992, the business has certainly multiplied in terms of employees, equipment and production, and plans are in the works for future expansion. But the shop did experience difficult times, along with most others, during the economic downturn. Cubi explains how he had to take time to re-strategize in order to keep his business going and build upon it for success. And in the end, it has paid off.

I know there are others of you out there who have similar stories. While the difficult economic times made things tough, those who were able to regroup and find a way to get through it only came out stronger.

Now, it seems business has turned around. Here at Stone World I hear things almost on a daily basis about shops that are expanding -- either in terms of work space, investments in machinery or both. I have even heard the word "slammed" used a couple of times to describe the workload of some fabricators. I have also noticed that commercial building has picked up. A few architects have told me about projects that they are currently working on.

All of these pieces of news are encouraging. In a little more than a week, I will be heading to Verona, Italy, to attend Marmomacc. Trade shows are always a telling sign of the state of the economy, and the stone industry in particular. It will be interesting to see how many North Americans will make the trip this year in search of new fabrication machinery or stone. Will you be there?  If so, be sure to stop by Stone World's booth to say hello.