Taking a business approach
Hunter Adams, owner of Trindco in Suffolk, VA, relied on his business background to establish a strong foundation for his company and develop a plan of growth year after year
While Hunter Adams did not have any prior fabrication experience, he did have a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a business sense. So when a long-time family friend asked if he would be interested in buying his solid surface company, Trindco, Adams decided to take the leap of faith – applying his knowledge from the corporate world to the fabrication operation he runs today.
Trindco, a Suffolk, VA-based fabrication company that now cuts stone, quartz, compact sintered stone and still a small amount of solid surfacing, was established in 1987. Adams purchased the company 18 years later in 2005.
“I tried to modernize it and build better systems,” said Adams. “I wanted to build a better foundation for growth.” He explained that the former owner had started to transition the business into being more automated and cutting materials other than solid surface prior to the changeover. Adams followed this lead and put his own best practices into place once he gained ownership. “We’ve been growing pretty consistently year after year,” said Adams.
Knowing the value of partnerships and aligning with groups having similar interests and objectives, Adams soon immersed himself in the fabrication industry – joining associations such as the Natural Stone Institute, International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Additionally, he is a founding member of the Artisan Group and belongs to the business group run by Park Industries.
“Through ISFA I met a lot of good people and learned a lot,” said Adams. “It really benefitted me.”
Having that business sense drove Adams to taking Trindco to the next level — not only with technology, but in providing top-rated customer service and education to its customers. As a result, the company has been accredited by the Natural Stone Institute, which reflects Adams and his team’s commitment to high standards of professionalism and running a safe and efficient shop. The Natural Stone Institute Accreditation Program is the only independent third-party credentialing program for natural stone fabricators and installers. Accredited companies are reviewed to ensure best practices are in place, tested on proper fabrication and installation methods and inspected to ensure safety, fabrication and installation standards are met.
Trindco proudly displays its Natural Stone Institute seal of certification for its customers to visibly see. Company employees make customer service a priority and go to great lengths to ensure they produce high-quality products in a timely fashion.
The company’s production is housed in a 28,000-square-foot facility, which was built in 2003. The impressive lineup of machinery from Park Industries includes two dual-table Fusion saw/waterjets, four Titan CNC routers, a Fastback II flat edge polisher, a Yukon bridge saw and a Wizard router.
“Park has been very responsive,” said Adams. “They have gotten really good about how to make machines work. The two Fusions let us have more capacity and increase production to be more efficient.”
Additionally, Trindco’s production area is equipped with a HydroClear Water Clarification System from Park Industries and a sludge filter press from Beckart Environmental. Its CNC machines are equipped with vacuum pods from Better Vacuum Cups, Inc. “Our industry partners said to give them a try,” said Adams. “It was a good transaction.”
Trindco also invested in a Zoller tool measuring system. “It’s great,” said Adams. “We were the second install in the U.S.” The company also uses ADI tooling and receives supplies from Regent Stone Products and GranQuartz.
Slabs are moved around the shop with Pro Carts from Omni Cubed, Inc. and the company uses a No Lift installation system on jobsites. For templating, install crews rely on a LT-2D3D Laser Templator from Laser Products Industries, which allows them to measure efficiently with great accuracy.
To maintain organization with jobs, Trindco uses Moraware software. It also has Slabsmith, which allows its customers to visualize their new countertops.
Trindco’s production rate is approximately 4,000 square feet per week. The company serves northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia – primarily catering to a residential market. “We have about a two-hour radius,” said Adams. “We’ll travel a little further for commercial jobs.”
At the present time, the company works more with quartz than natural stone. “We have a pretty strong partnership with Cosentino,” said Adams. “We’ve been working more with Dekton. It’s good for the right application. The material is getting easier to work with and the tooling has gotten better.”
In addition to its Suffolk, VA location, Trindco also has a showroom in Virginia Beach. “We opened it in 2007,” said Adams. “It’s a little beach cottage.”
With its team of slightly under 70 employees, Trindco continues to follow its best business practices model to maintain steady growth each year.
More from Hunter:
How would you say your business background prepared you to own a fabrication shop?
My business background has assisted me in placing goals and metrics in place to measure performance and to encourage growth and efficiencies.
What are a few of the benefits you have found after becoming certified by the Natural Stone Institute’s accreditation program?
We promote our accreditation to our partners and make sure we fabricate and install to the correct industry standards. When a customer has a question about how or why we recommend supports, where we place seams or what are acceptable characteristics and repairs for natural stones, we have documented standards to go by.
What were some reasons for investing in a Zoller tool measuring system? How has this helped Trindco’s production?
The Zoller has standardized and improved the accuracy of tool measuring and setup. It allows us to get better finished edges, reduces spindle down time and has increased the useful life of the tools.
It is apparent you value technology and have made investments in it. What advice would you give to a fellow fabricator who is on the fence about purchasing software and automated machinery?
Network with other fabricators and make sure your anticipated benefits from investments are realistic. If they are and it will benefit your business, go for it!
Type of Work: primarily residential and some commercial work; cuts natural stone, quartz, compact sintered stone and solid surfaces