After years in the cabinet shop business, Mike Langenderfer opened up The Countertop Shop in Holland, OH, in 2001 to get into the residential stone countertop market. “At that point, we were doing work with a big box store, and we had the opportunity to build on some stonework with them as well. This led us into the stone business, and quartz and granite market.”
The Countertop Shop started to invest in stone heavily in 2003 and at the same time decided to close the cabinet business because of the increased volume of stonework. The company cuts everything from natural stone and quartz to laminate and solid surfaces.
The shop is primarily equipped with machinery from Park Industries, located in St. Cloud, MN. The most recent addition was a SaberJet, which was installed last June. Additional equipment includes three Titan CNC machines, an edge polisher from Marmo Meccanica, located in Pontiac, MI, and a water filtration system through GranQuartz, located in Norcross, GA. Tooling is also supplied by GranQuartz and four LT-2D3D templator from Laser Products Industries, located in Romeoville, IL, is used for measuring.
Five years ago, The Countertop Shop built a 20,000-square-foot facility. A year later, they expanded the space another 2,500 square feet. The company currently employs a staff of 42, working 48-hour weeks, doing 40 to 50 kitchens a week, roughly averaging 70 to 80 square feet in size. “We primarily cut quartz, around 60%, while natural stone makes up roughly 35% [of our business],” said Langenderfer. “The most popular colors we are seeing, still, are white slabs with gray streaks in them.”
During the pandemic
Like every business throughout 2020, The Countertop Shop faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. “When it first hit here in Ohio we never really lost any production because we were an essential business because of the building side of it,” said Langenderfer. “We shut down our showroom for a while. Then we adjusted to doing customers by appointment only. The guys in the shop are separated more than enough. Then in the showroom, when people come in, you have to wear a mask. Installers and templators have to wear a mask. We follow all the guidelines.
“We had a downturn in March or April, but we were still profitable,” Langenderfer went onto say. “In Michigan, we are right on the state line; they shut down their whole state, which was one of our biggest challenges.”
Langenderfer credited his team with adapting and overcoming different obstacles during the pandemic, leading to the business’s success. He also stresses to other business owners that you have to take care of your employees, especially when times get hard.
“For me, it’s all about taking care of the employees,” said Langenderfer. “I hear people complain that they can’t afford to take care of them, but you have to. If they do a good job, everything else will fall into place if they do the right things. We like to make sure they have a good wage to survive on; then I don’t have to worry about them leaving to take another possible job.”