Stone trends, supply chains and workforce development were the topics of discussion at the recent Stone Industry Education event in Dulles, VA, hosted by MSI Surfaces. Mark Meriaux, technical and accreditation manager of the Natural Stone Institute (NSI) led several different panels to talk to attendees about issues they may be seeing in the shop and design trends happening.

“As far as colors in the kitchen, we were seeing browns, then it brightened to white and then farmhouse whites,” said Mike Morici of MSI. “Now we are seeing more warm colors coming into the kitchen. White it is still the main focal point of the kitchen, but there are warm accents. Some customers want things that are a bit bold, but it’s not the pure whites. At MSI, 80% of our growth is coming from warm colors right now.”

Customers are also looking for warm colors for their cabinets, wood accents and in their flooring.

“We are currently doing a lot of outdoor kitchens,” said Buddy Ontra of Ontra Stone Concepts in Bridgeport, CT, and current NSI board president. “Something that we used to do seasonally, we are now doing it seems every week.”

When it comes to supply chains, Morici of MSI said they are preparing for a slowdown. “With inflation, everything is going to slow down,” he said. “MSI is preparing for the shift for the economy to slow down a bit.”

MSI also discussed a bit about the rumors about tariffs on materials imported from Malaysia and India. 

Finally, the panel and the attendees discussed the best ways to hire and retain employees. This included, but not limited to, celebrating your employees successes, setting the right example for your employees, using current employees to help recruit new employees and having a company culture that makes employees want to show up to work.

The final stone industry education seminar, which is organized by NSI and Stone World, is scheduled for November 10, 2022 at MSI Surface’s facility in Sacramento, CA.