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Rebuilding a stone business:  After a fire destroyed Sharon Re’s fabrication shop, she rebuilt it, sold it and eventually opened a new operation in the same building

Beginning in their early twenties, Sharon and Chuck Re started a tile business out of their apartment. While doing tile work for five years, customers would often ask them if they could do a vanity top for them. “We would have to go to a stone shop and have a vanity made,” said Sharon Re. “At the same time, we were getting sick of doing tile work. We decided to go to Cumar Marble and Granite and told them we knew how to template and install. I don’t know if we really did or not, but he hired us and for the next two years taught us everything we know today. That’s where we learned the value of hard work, learning from the best was the turning point for us and we will be forever grateful to Ivo [Cubi] for that.”

Granite City of Eagle River, AK, was founded 11 years ago by current president, Matt Hickey, and vice president/general manager, Barry Anderson. They remain the owners today, along with treasurer, Melissa Hickey. Matt Hickey and Anderson had been working in the construction field for 40 years. They partnered to start the business because they saw a need for a granite fabrication and installation shop in the area.

 

The company operates a 10,000-square-foot facility, which was remodeled entirely to fit their needs. They manufacture a variety of brands of quartz, as well as natural granite, which is typically used for countertops. They aim to cut and fabricate four to six slabs in an eight-hour shift.

laser products countertops

Stone World Magazine Technology Update: Never complacent, Laser Products Industries (LPI) is continuously improving its LT-2D3D Laser Templator to ensure its customers are able to collect highly accurate measurements with an intuitive and easy-to-learn system. The latest feature to be added is an integrated high-resolution camera that acts as a digital viewfinder, showing the user exactly where the laser is pointed. The video feed from the camera is displayed on the included tablet’s screen with crosshairs overlaid on the laser beam’s location. This will be helpful in situations requiring points to be measured on the long end of the LT-2D3D’s 200-foot range and the digital zoom function allows the user to see those points even closer with the tap of a button. LPI has also seen many fabricators begin to grow their outdoor work as an extension of their core business and the camera will help in these situations, as well as where bright sunlight might otherwise make the beam difficult to see. Now the user can simply aim the laser using the crosshairs, knowing that the beam is centered directly beneath it, even if it cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Software that helps run our technology is all around us. It improves our lives in a variety of ways — from the cell phones we carry in our pocket to the navigation systems in our cars. Technology makes our lives easier and more efficient. And relating to stone fabrication, as technology continues to evolve, the software in CNC machines continues to get better and assist fabricators. The stone industry may have started behind the technological curve, but it’s quickly catching up. The days of fabricators having to move every slab in their yard to show customers what that specific slab looks like, may be a thing of the past.

 

Digital slabs are becoming increasingly popular and the future for them looks promising. Digital slabs shouldn’t be thought of as a simple photo of a slab. It’s an accurate copy of real life. According to Bill Elliott of Northwood Designs, Inc. in Antwerp, NY, developer of Slabsmith, digital slabs allow the entire properties of a slab to be shown to a fabricator. “With the digital version of the slab, I know the exact dimensions; the color is accurate, and the parts that will fit in the slab or remnant are known making it more than just a photo of the slab,” said Elliott. “Then everything flows downhill from that. We can then manage inventories, manage remnants in a new way, do layouts in new ways. We know not only how many square feet are in a slab, but what the largest area we can use in it and what the largest rectangle we can make in that slab is. That also means we know exactly what is in stock if we need to meet certain needs. The possibilities are endless when you have an accurate digital version of a slab.”

Romeoville, IL, October 13 2016 – Laser Products today announced a workforce and facility expansion in response to continuous and rapid growth of its laser products.

The manufacturing facility has been expanded to include over 12,000 sq. ft. of production space at the company’s headquarter building in Romeoville, IL. One new hire, Ken Pohlman has increased the company’s assembly capacity and and will report to Matt Flake, Production Manager.

The marketing department of Laser Products has tripled with the hiring of Alex Gay, marketing intern, Brittany Nichols, marketing coordinator and the retention of an outside graphics design company and a marketing communications firm. The department will work under the direction of Brian Stoiber, Director of Marketing.