Rye Marble Inc: Equipped for success
Rye Marble Inc. of Rye, NY, might have limited space for fabrication, but careful planning to devise a fully automated and efficient shop has led to a lucrative business in the high-end residential market
Under the management of a fourth generation, Rye Marble Inc. has experienced a variety of changes through the years. Started as Rye Monument Works Inc. by Dominick DiPietro, a stone craftsman who immigrated to Harrison, NY, from Sicily in the early 1900’s, the company was a thriving monument and memorial business, positioned directly across from Greenwood Union Cemetery in Rye, NY. Nearly 100 years since its founding, the company — run by brothers Alex and Greg DiPietro — is based out of its original location, but now caters primarily to the luxury residential market.
After Dominick retired, his son, Sebastian (Barney), took over. Barney’s two sons, Theodore and Douglas, took the helm of the monument business in the eighties. In 1987, a need for stone countertops was seen and Rye Marble Inc. was founded. Starting with a Sawing Systems saw and a bed polisher, the business began to grow.
“We were one of the only local stone fabricators in this area in the ‘80s and ‘90s,” said Alex DiPietro. “There was the ‘90s boom and then in the late ‘90s and early 2000s the market became more saturated. The first decade of the millennium was tough for us. After losing more than half our business to the recession, we hung on and did what we could. Around 2011, business started to come back. We are in a competitive market with a lot of fabricators. We saw that many fabricators clearly don’t understand the true costs of their business. It’s common around here for fabricators to eat the costs of large remnants, rather than including the costs of materials in their bids. While this tactic may have worked years ago when materials were more common, ubiquitous and cheaper, but with today’s expensive materials it’s a recipe for going broke.
“We took a look at our business and decided we wanted to lower expenses,” DiPietro went on to explain. “We wanted to move along a path of automation, reducing labor costs and we wanted to build an inventory.”
Rye Marble Inc. has been importing its own material for about three years and has witnessed positive results. “Importing is single handedly the most influential change we made to our structure,” said DiPietro. “We no longer compete on jobs like we used to. Our slabs aren’t available anywhere else. We buy them in bulk, we pay less and we buy better quality.
“I went on the Stone Fabricator’s Alliance (SFA) Italy trip in 2013 and met a whole bunch of guys I had known for years online,” continued DiPietro. “We were introduced to some suppliers.” DiPietro explained they started by importing one container. “Fast forward to 2017, we average 700 to 800 slabs of high-end materials in stock and continue to grow,” he said.
The company primarily imports from producers in Italy, but also buys from Brazil and India. “We have built a nice inventory with some unique material,” said DiPietro. “We have a pretty high-end market. We fabricate a lot of white marble and quartzite.”
Becoming fully automated
According to DiPietro, around the time he and his brother decided to start importing, they also were searching for ways to maximize space. The 2,000-square-foot work area couldn’t fit another bridge saw. As a result, they decided to replace the machine with an Omag Area5 CNC stoneworking center. “The decision to buy the saw was revolutionary for us,” explained DiPietro. “We miter almost every day. It’s essential now. We went from a manual bridge to a 5-axis CNC, which allows us to cut a slab every 20 to 40 minutes. Simple slabs are cut in no time. We are able to cut far more than we ever were before.” For two years, sinks were cut incrementally on the machine and pieces were then sent to hand fabrication. Cutting sinks on the saw became a bottle neck and a decision was made to move towards a CNC router.
Rye Marble Inc. recently invested in a Counterbreton NC300 CNC stone router. “It’s a heavy machine with a small footprint,” said DiPietro. “We are able to produce as much or more than shops with double the employees, with high precision. Also, unlike many fabricators, we have spent the time to learn the full capabilities of our machines, and are able to use them for intricate moldings and carvings, in both 3 and 5 axis.”
“Becoming a digital shop has forced us to become more organized,” explained DiPietro. “All projects are drawn in CAD, and Slabsmith layouts are created for every job. Once shop drawings and Slabsmith layouts are approved, jobs are sent to production. Slabsmith might be the most awesome piece of equipment available to the industry. It allows perfect layouts and project planning.”
Additionally, a Marmo Meccanica LCV711 edge polisher is utilized in the production process for flat edges, as well as an old Zambon radial arm polisher, which the company uses every day to hone and polish marble. The CNC machine is equipped with vacuum pods from Blick Industries and Terminator tooling supplied by Stone Boss. The company purchases other tooling and accessories from Stone Boss, as well as GranQuartz and Helix Professional Tools.
For templating, Rye Marble Inc. first bought a Leica 3D Disto and a vinyl plotter. “It was a good stepping stone into digital,” said DiPietro.
Once they invested in the new machinery, the decision was made to buy a Proliner from Prodim. “We decided [to purchase it] once we were going for more complex projects,” explained DiPietro, adding Rye Marble currently operates two Proliners. “The Proliners are the most accurate. They are worth the extra cost without question.”
With the bulk of its work focusing on the upscale residential market, the company is able to fabricate approximately 10 to 15 jobs a week depending on complexity. “We do a lot of slab bathrooms and wall cladding,” said DiPietro.
At the time of Stone World’s visit, Rye Marble Inc. had begun using a new software program, Stone App by Stone Grid. “It takes the job from the lead to the quote to production and integrates with Slabsmith,” said DiPietro. “From what we can tell, it’s the most comprehensive software available to our industry that doesn’t cost five figures. Our templators and installers have iPads. They can see photos of the jobsite, pull up job details, view maps for the day and get navigation right on the iPad. We are able to see what the teams are doing in real time. We track all full slabs, and remnants with the software, and are able to implement full-scale parts tracking if we wanted.”
Rye Marble Inc. has evolved significantly since its beginnings. Today, the company has a staff of 14 and fabricates for Westchester and Fairfield counties, as well as Manhattan — working closely with designers, builders and homeowners.
Rye Marble Inc.
Type of Work: primarily high-end residential