In this edition of theStone World Fabricator E-News, Atlas Marble and Granite of Springfield, NJ, is featured in "Inside the Shop." Being a neighbor of theStone Worldoffice, I had actually visited the shop in 2012, when it was located in Newark. At that time, owner Marco Duran told me how he wanted to be more involved in the stone industry and the MIA. I soon began running into him at industry events -- and then even participating in a Fabricator Forum panel at trade shows. He had a mission in mind, and it was obvious he was dedicated to making it happen.

Back in the spring of this year, I ran into Marco again at one of our Stone World/MIA Work Shops. He told me that he moved the shop to Springfield, and he was interested in a follow-up story. So, of course I agreed. I always like to take advantage of visiting shops in the area when I can, and I certainly am interested to see how they have grown.

Atlas Marble and Granite's new shop is impressive. One of the noticeable changes is its new showroom. Upon entering, it is clear that the company wants to create an environment where homeowners and members of the design community feel comfortable to visit and plan out their designs.

The new showroom features a large flat screen television where clients can view their granite slabs and see specifically how they will be cut to create their custom designs. Marco explained that he believes that technology such as this plays a crucial role in developing a "professional stone experience." To attract a high-end market, it is important to show customers that the company is using state-of-the-art technology and equipment to fabricate their products. "People are coming in who are living in these high-end homes," he said. "We want to show them our level of sophistication and dedication."

With its new open showroom space, Atlas Marble and Granite holds networking events throughout the year. "We have participated in several 'lunch and learns,'" said Duran. "It's a good way to attract architects and designers here. We are a CEU provider."

Additionally the company has hosted the National Kitchen and Bath Association Christmas party, and it is part of a quartet that shares hosting MIA events. "It's a forum between fabricators and distributors where they hash out issues," said Duran.

The reason I highlighted the steps Atlas Marble and Granite has taken to expand its shop is to illustrate how it just takes a plan and dedication to carry out a vision. Many fabricators I have spoken to throughout the year have noted how they had to branch out and not put all their eggs in one basket to weather out the storm. Atlas Marble and Granite did just that and they are experiencing positive results. Don't be afraid to take the chance because it can be well worth it.