The Evolution of Swenson Granite Works
Dating back to 1883, the granite producer that was recently acquired by Polycor Inc. now provides landscape and hardscape all over New England
In 1883, Swenson Granite Works, a Polycor Inc. company, was first established by John Swenson and since that time it has experienced many transitions. More than 100 years after it was founded, the company opened its first retail store in 1990. Then in 1997, Swenson Granite Works purchased the Anderson-Friberg production facility followed by the purchase of Rock of Ages in 2010. The most recent change came in 2016 when the company was sold to Polycor Inc., the world’s largest natural stone quarrier.
Today, Swenson Granite Works owns and operates several quarries and retail locations throughout the Northeast. There is the Woodbury Gray quarry in Woodbury, VT, the Concord Gray quarry and curbing plant in Concord, NH, and the Anderson-Friberg plant in Barre, VT. The principal market for Swenson Granite Works is the New England area. For the retail side of its business, which includes landscape and hardscape products, 40% of the company’s sales are in Massachusetts, 15% in Maine, 10% in Connecticut and 35% in New Hampshire. Curb sales make up 35% of the company’s overall business.
“Our biggest pride is that our products are being used in so many residential projects throughout New England,” said Kevin Jack, chief operating officer of Swenson Granite Works. “We’re part of people’s everyday lives. They see, they gather around and they build memories around our products.
“Both Woodbury and Concord are gray granites that have excellent structural strength and split very well,” Jack went onto say. “This makes them extremely suitable for steps, curbing, etc. Both quarries are also very consistent in color and have very few aesthetic flaws.”
Primarily, Swenson Granite Works sells to landscapers, builders, masonry contractors, curb setters, homeowners and natural stone dealers. They stock a large assortment of steps, posts, pavers, edging, thin veneer, cobblestones, bluestone and more. They also do custom fabrication, as well as their curb production. Polycor’s emphasis through Swenson Granite Works is with the hardscape product offerings and with curbing.
The company’s retail locations are in Concord, NH; Amherst, NH; Westbrook, ME; Newtown, CT; Medway, MA; Rowley, MA; Hanover, MA; Shrewsbury, MA; and South Hadley, MA. The manufacturing plant in Barre, VT, is approximately 125,000 square feet, while the curb and saw plants in Concord, NH, total approximately 40,000 square feet.
Swenson Granite Works employs a total of 156 people. There are 26 workers in the quarries, 76 in the factories, 37 in the retail stores and 17 in the corporate office. “Hiring new employees represents a challenge for any organization nowadays,” said Jack. “New employees are often referred by our employees, some others see recruitment websites, see us at job fairs or advertisements in the local publications. The manufacturing plant that produces the hardscape products is located in Barre, VT, which has many granite manufacturers, and therefore, an exceptionally skilled labor pool.”
Swenson Granite Works uses a wide variety of equipment in their plants from a range of manufacturers. Recently, they have been putting an emphasis on CNC or automated equipment to help them through the labor shortage.