This year’s Artisan Group Shop Tour was an exciting blend of welcoming new members and touring a top-notch fabrication facility in Muskegon, Michigan.  

New group members Harlan and Patty Bost have owned and operated Florida Custom Marble in Jacksonville, Florida since 1997. The company was founded in 1973 and has worked with more builder professionals than anyone else in the region on residential new construction, commercial projects, and remodels. Whether customers are managing a single renovation project or overseeing a multi-million-dollar development, Florida Custom Marble provides quality installations at a competitive price. They’re known and trusted in their market to always deliver consistent and beautiful work.  

Charles McLaughlin of Fox Marble in San Francisco, California is another new Artisan Group member. Charley established Fox Marble in 1986 and currently serves as its President and CEO. Charley served in the US Marine Corps, and is a Vietnam veteran. He graduated from Rutgers University in 1973, and managed a masonry products company for eight years where his love for natural stone was born. Fox Marble offers a wide range of services, from direct importing of the finest stone from around the world, to in-house fabrication, professional installation and full-service stone care and restoration.

The Artisan Shop Tour event, hosted by Rob Riegler and his team at Lakeside Surfaces, was held Sept 18th and 19th at their Muskegon facility. The two day meeting was attended by 22 members who shared best practices, metrics, as well as new products and services. However, the real value of this event was the tour of Lakeside’s operation.  Riegler explained how culture is the driving force in influencing his employees to perform at their highest levels. He added, “We have the best interest of the company and our workers in mind in every aspect of the day at Lakeside. Our team relies on creating processes, documenting them and then holding team members accountable for following these processes. When something goes wrong, the first step is to see if the process was followed and if so, the process is changed. If the process was not followed, then the employee is “coached” to follow the process in future endeavors.”

Artisan Group Executive Director Jon Lancto added, “Lakeside’s processes and culture have proven to be very effective tools for running a complex operation. The facility is maintained better than any shop I’ve seen, and safety is a key aspect of the shop environment.” Some of the descriptions of the tour by attendees include; inspiring, humbling, and overwhelming.