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Beginning with five workers in Saint Sebastian, Quebec, Canada, in 1988, Lucille Paradis and Rock Bernier have developed Summum Granitinto a model stoneworking facility. The company processes material using the latest generation of technology, and maintaining quality production is a key to its overall strategy.

When Summum Granit opened its doors, it had 4,000 square feet of plant and office space. It steadily grew over the years, adding a second shift in 1997 and undergoing several different plant expansions.

Today, the company has grown to an operation with 140 employees, explained Marie-Pierre Bernier of Summum Granit. In Saint Sebastian, it operates a 55,000-square-foot stoneworking facility and a 10,000-square-foot solid surface shop, with 10,000 square feet of office space.

More than two decades ago, Mike and Karen Langenderfer set out to start their own business. Through the years, the couple’s experiences steered them down various avenues, and they eventually expanded into the countertop business — opening their own shop in June 2001. Today, they operate The Countertop Shopin Holland, OH, a stone fabrication operation which caters to the residential market and utilizes state-of-the-art digital technology.

“Twenty-four years ago, we decided to get into business for ourselves,” said Mike Langenderfer. “After researching numerous businesses that were for sale, we decided to start a business from scratch. In 1988, Karen and I started a sign company called Signs Plus. We operated the business together for the first year and then added a partner. By the end of the second year, we had decided to sell the sign business and purchase a commercial cabinet company. In June of 1990, we took over a cabinet business and ran that business for the next 13 years.”

Beginning his career with a masonry company in 1988, Marco Duran took a great liking to creating timeless solid structures which led him to an apprenticeship with a Master Stone Setter. After several years, his mentor retired and took back to his roots in Italy, thus allowing Duran to embark on his entrepreneur passion in a career specializing in stone setting and fabricating. Within the next 10 years, he honed his skills and had set an ambitious course to open a fabrication shop. In 2001, with minimal funds and heaps of aspiration and desire, he opened Atlas Marble and Granite.

Life began for Atlas Marble and Granite in a moderately sized 7,500-square-foot building in Newark, NJ. The space was a bare cinder block box which Duran began outfitting with basic first-level stone equipment, a used bridge saw and a couple of worktables and hand tools. While remaining in the same building today, Atlas has doubled its workable space to a 15,000-square-foot facility, and most importantly, advanced to a fully digitized operation.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Charlton business grows as demand for home renovation supplies increases.
Alecx Santos, co-owner of All Granite & Marble Inc. in Charlton, stands in front of his company’s two new buildings, a showroom, left, and a processing plant. (T&G Staff/PAUL KAPTEYN)

CHARLTON —  Brazilian immigrant Alecx Santos has come a long way from waiting tables at the IHOP restaurant in Shrewsbury, his first job when he came to the United States as a teenager 20 years ago.

He and his wife, Alcine, have seen their granite countertop company, All Granite & Marble Inc. at 379 Worcester Road, grow into a thriving business, with $3.8 million in annual sales. All Granite & Marble imports, cuts to order, finishes and installs natural and engineered stone for residential and commercial spaces.

Mr. Santos attributes the rapid doubling of sales to building a strong sales force, focusing on customer service and investing in technology. He said when he bought the business in 2007, the market for home sales was weakening, but the demand for renovation supplies, such as the granite kitchen countertops that are his core business, was expanding.