Stone fabrication business grows through customer service, pricing
Factory Plaza has continued to evolve year after year because of the emphasis it places on putting customers first and not focusing on what the competition is doing
Establishing their business in 2005, Maryla and Darek Bosek first started under the name Fortune Estates. Back then, they rented a 2,000-square-foot space in Franklin Park, IL, and opened a granite countertops production shop. Maryla takes care of the office, accounting, payroll and marketing, while Darek takes care of hiring people and all the operations. “He was born into a family of contractors, both his father, now retired, and two brothers renovate houses in the Chicago area,” explained Maryla Bosek about her husband. “In 1995, Darek was a licensed real estate broker and was flipping houses for a few years. Around the year 2000, granite became a buzz word and everyone started putting granite in their kitchen. Back then, granite cost about $80 to $95 a square foot, so Darek had this idea that he would open a granite shop and make it more affordable.”
Since the beginning, the company imported granite slabs directly from quarries in China and Brazil. In 2007, they moved to a 9,000-square-foot facility in Melrose Park, IL. They also purchased two bridge saws, an Edge Mate and Edge Express. In 2008, they changed the name of the business to Factory Plaza, and built a website. “We survived the recession only because we offered great customer service and low pricing,” said Maryla. “We were always customer-obsessed as opposed to competitor-obsessed.” Their clientele was growing steadily so they thought about purchasing an even larger warehouse and importing more slabs. “In 2009, after long and painful negotiations with our bank, we purchased a 45,000-square-foot warehouse in Benseville, IL,” said Bosek. “Everyone thought we were crazy; everything around us was collapsing, other granite shops were closing their doors and we were thinking about growing our business even more. We did find a great place, but it was in bad shape. It took us almost a year to renovate it.” Maryla and Darek decided that half of it would be used for granite, quartz, marble, Nanoglass, quartzite, schist and soapstone, and the other half would be used for kitchen cabinet production. In the first two years in Bensenville, they filled the warehouse with almost 1,000 slabs of stone.
Last year, Factory Plaza purchased a CNC machine from StonePol to do all their sink cutouts, which has helped increase production speed. The company currently has a 6,000-square-foot fabrication area, a 3,000-square-foot office and showroom area, an 18,000-square-foot slab warehouse area and an 18,000-square-foot wood shop -- all of it running on one shift. Presently, it has 35 employees, as well as three install crews consisting of independent contractors. Additionally, Factory Plaza has two measurers in the field that are also independent contractors. “At this time, they are making the drawings by hand and plastic templates, but we are thinking about switching to digital templating sometime this year,” said Bosek. “Our production rate is 45 kitchens a week, averaging 60 square feet a kitchen.” The company also tries to be environmentally friendly, catching rainwater and using it for production and having built their own water recycling system in their fabrication area. Also, to save on electricity they installed 40 skylights.
The company buys tools from GranQuartz and Braxton-Bragg. “Our principal markets are homeowners and contractors,” said Bosek. “But we also do commercial jobs and government contracts, as well as work with architects, builders and interior designers. Some of our recent projects include a radio station in Chicago, the police headquarters in Bensenville, City Halls, restaurants and a casino lobby.
“Our service area is about 50 miles around Bensenville, as we mainly go to Cook County and DuPage County, but even if we have a customer who lives 200 miles away, we say, ‘okay,’” Bosek went on to say. “We don’t mind going to eastern parts of Iowa, southern Wisconsin, parts of Michigan and Indiana. Back in 2015, we purchased a full production line for kitchen cabinets and retrofitted the building for the purpose of making cabinets, about 60 machines. We make our own kitchen cabinet line here called American Wood Cabinets. We try to be a one-stop shop for everything kitchen and bath, cabinets, countertops, sinks, faucets, vanities, vanity tops, porcelain sinks, mosaics and medallions. We also sell tiles from
M S International.”
Factory Plaza continues to purchase directly from quarries in China, India, Brazil, Italy and Norway, sometimes buying from local suppliers but always preferring to deal directly with quarries. “We are the only granite shop in the area that sells Nanoglass; our lead time is about two weeks,” said Bosek. “We are still obsessed when it comes to customer satisfaction. Our reputation is our greatest asset, a BBB A, Angie’s List Super Service Award for five years, Best of Houzz, more than 1,000 five-star reviews online and more than 40,000 likes on Facebook. We are currently working on an online store to our website and in the future we hope to go high tech and buy more machines for our fabricationarea.”
Type of Work: Residential and commercial