North Dakota monument company expands while on its fifth generation of ownership
Established in 1904, Hatton Granite Company, is North Dakota’s oldest monument business. Starting 15 years after North Dakota gained statehood, the family business originally created monuments from hand and chisel. Through the years, it has been passed down and is now with its current owners, Blake and Jill Wamstad, who took the company over in 2001.
“The company has been passed down through five generations of stone workers,” said Blake Wamstad. “My great-great-grandfather started this business in 1904. The countertop business was started a little over a decade ago.”
As Hatton Granite Company was passed down, it went through several changes. In 1984, the company was relocated to its present location on Highway 18 South in Hatton. The relocation allowed Hatton Granite Company to increase the size of their indoor showroom and offer the largest inventory of granite in North Dakota. Also during this time, the stone business made the transition from a stencil-press system to computer-aided design.
Since Blake’s arrival, Hatton Granite Company has expanded its operations to include fabrication and installation of granite countertops. Blake purchased a Park Fusion CNC saw/waterjet from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN, four years ago and it came with a Hypertherm waterjet, located in Hanover, NH.
“With the Fusion saw and waterjet, four fabricators can now do the work of 20 people with no additional head count,” said Blake Wamstad. “We have four fabricators, including me. If we continued to work like we did before the Hypertherm waterjet, we would need at least 20 people to do the same amount of work. Previously, everything had to be done by hand. The waterjet increased the number of jobs we can do by 500 percent and it did this without increasing my labor costs.”
Hatton Granite Company’s campus includes five buildings, the showroom, the shop and three facilities to store stone. The shop runs one shift, eight to 10 hours, for four to five days a week. It has five employees; three of them do the installing. They also design, fabricate, deliver and install custom kitchen countertops and bathroom vanities. An LT-55 XL Laser Templator is used on site to create digital templates and sink dimensions are added later. The templates are then merged over high-resolution photos of actual stone. According to Blake, since each stone is unique, this gives the designer and customer a chance to select the best layout before cutting begins. Standard countertops are between ¾” and 1 ¼” thick. Slabs that are ¾” thick are often laminated at the edge to create the appearance of a thicker edge profile.
A total of 75 percent of Hatton Granite Company’s market is residential, while the other 25 percent is commercial. Generally, the jobs are either remodels or new construction. Last year, Hatton Granite Company completed 350 residential kitchens and is currently cutting an average of 1,000 feet of stone a week.
The company’s inventory includes granite from across the U.S., India, Norway, Africa and beyond. “All the work on each piece is completed right in our shop, from design to installation,” said Blake Wamstad. “Because we buy direct from the quarry and sell direct to you, we are able to offer the best price in the region.”
By: Jason Kamery
Article originally appear on StoneWorld.com