Archive | January, 2014

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Blick Industries Introduces CNC Leathering Tooling

Posted on 29 January 2014 by cradmin

Blick Leatherhead imagesBlick Industries introduced the new Leatherhead, a leathering surface-treatment tooling for use with CNC machinery. The tooling adapts to any 35mm Conic tool holder. It accepts Frankfurt Style brushes or 4-, 5- and 6-in. snail-lock brushes. It can be used on belt-driven and electro-spindle machines. The tooling is 12.75-in. in diameter and weighs 16.5 lbs. (not including brushes or tool holder). Customers can specify through bolt size of M10 or M12. Feed rates are 100 in. per min. and spindle speeds are 1,000 to 1,200 rpm. The company also offers a smaller “Mini Leatherhead” version of the tool with a 5.5-in. diameter.

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Fabricator Profile: Granite Works

Posted on 28 January 2014 by CRadmin2


Jason VanDyke built his stone fabrication company based on the first rule of business: providing supply where there is demand. Granite Works is located in Waverly, N.Y., near the border of Pennsylvania. He felt this area was lacking a reliable and consistent stone countertop fabricator, forcing residents to travel two to three hours to larger cities, such as Rochester and Buffalo.

Once Granite Works was off the ground, Jason began to diversify by adding solid surface and quartz surfacing. With this well-rounded lineup, the company began to seriously market its products and services to local kitchen and bath dealers. The company also started doing monuments.

The sales and marketing director for Granite Works, Erika Molin, attributes the company’s continued success to this diversification as well as its community outreach programs, which includes the sponsorship of two local soccer teams and putting up benches for the baseball fields in the city. In addition, Molin is personally active in the community as a board member of the Chamber of Commerce.

Read more of this Fabricator Profile here.

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Aetna Plywood To Distribute Diresco Quartz Surfacing

Posted on 27 January 2014 by cradmin

Diresco quartzAetna Plywood is now the exclusive distributor for Diresco Quartz Surfacing in the Midwest United States. Based in Maywood, Ill., Aetna Plywood operates out of four locations in Illinois, Indiana and Minnesota and has a service area that includes 15 states. The Diresco quartz surfacing product, which is made using the Breton system, is new to the United States, but has been operating out of Belgium for numerous years, with a large market share in Northern Europe. The material comes in polished or honed finish in 26 colors and slabs measure 120 in. long by 55 in. wide, and come in three thicknesses: 1.2cm, 2cm or 3cm. Aetna plans to roll out the products first in the Chicago and Rockford, Ill., areas before expanding into Indianapolis, Minneapolis and other areas it services. Diresco USA, headquartered in Santa Ana, Calif. is plans to expand into several other major U.S. cities over the next 1 to 2 years. The quartz product expands upon Aetna’s current surfacing offerings of Meganite solid surface and Wilsonart laminate.

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Coverings Trade Show Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Posted on 24 January 2014 by cradmin

PrintTwenty-five years ago Coverings, the first U.S. tile and stone exposition and conference, was founded not only to showcase new products, tools and machinery, but also to provide certification programs, networking opportunities and training and education on an array of topics from design trends to installation techniques for distributors, retailers, contractors, installers and specifiers. This year, Coverings will celebrate its 25th Anniversary from April 29 to May 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The show will host an official Anniversary “After-Hours” Party on Wednesday, April 30 to honor this important milestone. Additionally, show attendees will receive a 25th Anniversary commemorative collectible at the show.

The first iteration of Coverings took place in 1990 in Anaheim, California, when Tile Expo and The World Exposition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings merged, creating The International Tile Exposition, which later became the International Tile and Stone Exhibition and eventually Coverings. The show united five industry associations under one umbrella: The Ceramic Tile Distributor Association (CTDA), Tile of Spain/Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturer’s Association (ASCER), Ceramics of Italy/Confindustria Ceramica, National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and The Tile Council of North America (TCNA).

Since that first show, Coverings has grown to include more than 900 exhibitors, more than 70 conference sessions and a myriad of networking events annually — all for free.

More information a Coverings can be found here.

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Unique LED Lit Countertops, Vanities and Sinks

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Unique LED Lit Countertops, Vanities and Sinks

Posted on 23 January 2014 by cradmin

Here is a video that depicts some unique LED lit countertops, produced by Crafted Countertops in Genoa City, Wis. The company, which fabricates quartz surfacing, granite, solid surface, laminate, recycled materials and others, seems to have a knack for using lighting to highlight countertops, or making “NightLight Tops” as it calls them.

While this video doesn’t show the fabrication process at all, it certainly offers a variety of examples of finished work, and some idea of how the task is accomplished can be gleaned from just seeing the video.

One thing that interested me was how the lights played off of the various sink choices. The white opaque sinks appear to catch the glow from the lighting and reflect it like a projection of color (the company seems to prefer to use color-changing lights in these applications. Alternatively, glass sinks seem to absorb the color and internalize it, making for a very futuristic look.

While this type of countertop is not for everyone, it certainly can be a stand0out for someone looking for something post-modern and adventurous.

Let us know what you think, or share your videos by emailing us at [email protected].


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Vicostone Partners with Triton Stone For Distribution

Posted on 22 January 2014 by cradmin

Vicostone, a provider of quartz surfacing material, has partnered with Triton Stone Group to expand its distribution. Triton Stone, which has 17 locations, will offer Vicostone quartz surfacing in the South (Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi) and Mid-Atlantic regions (North Carolina, and Virginia).

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MIA Technical Module on Countertop Installation Available Online

Posted on 21 January 2014 by CRadmin2

res_countertop_2011We here at are dedicated to locating, researching and letting you know about all of the resources available to you as countertop fabricators and installers. One great resource we recently uncovered is available online (and at no charge) from the Marble Institute of America (MIA). The MIA Technical Module Residential Stone Countertop Installation is a robust reference tool that we believe could be worth a pretty penny should MIA demand it. So, in your best interests, we recommend you check out this module as soon as possible and download a free copy for yourself before they change their minds.

The MIA manual Residential Stone Countertop Installation consists of 19 chapters in 32 pages, and the editors claim that its purpose is to guide individuals on how to get the full potential out of natural stone countertops from an installation perspective. However, this text is careful to note that the perfect installation is only one aspect on achieving this potential, along with design, selection of materials and fabrication.

Residential Stone Countertop Installation begins with a short guide to stone materials and finishes before touching on pre-installation subjects such as communicating with customers and residential contracts. The guide then delves into substrate requirements, field measurements, design and fabrication methods.

This technical module then gets into the nitty-gritty of natural stone countertop installation by covering methods, adhesives, fillers, reinforcement, repair and maintenance. In addition, it is filled with detailed drawings and examples. However, don’t take our word for it. Take a peek yourself and let us know what you think of it.

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Creating a Positive Countertop Buying Experience

Posted on 20 January 2014 by CRadmin2

Although this story pertains to automobiles, its lesson spans through every industry, including countertop fabrication. Pay attention to your customers’ reactions and to what they say so that it is possible to create a positive buying experience for them.

A former salesperson for Cadillac recalls that a few years ago, his dealership began to study its customer-buying experience in great detail. The customers talked about how uncomfortable they were when buying a car. They felt cheap and as if the dealer was taking advantage of them in the negotiations. Apparently, the proverbial used-car-salesman approach was well earned.

Customers typically felt as though the negotiations were not honest and above board. They would make an offer, and the salesperson would disappear to check with the sales manager to see if the customer offer could possibly be accepted. The customers believed that the salesperson was actually in the break room having a cigarette, making them sweat. The bottom line was that the customers believed these negotiations were insincere, and no matter what eventually happened, the customer felt badly about the experience. This research was later corroborated by a study conducted by J. D. Power about the buying experience.

When GM decided to create Saturn, the intent was to create a new customer experience. GM had not performed particularly well in the small car market. To compete with the Japanese, top management decided to locate Saturn in Tennessee, away from Detroit and all that was typical of GM. Many of the leaders assigned to Saturn were from Cadillac and were aware of the research concerning the purchasing experience. They set out to create, as they said in advertising, a decidedly different customer buying experience.

Saturn management listened carefully to customers. For starters, executives decided that there would be one price, and it would not be negotiable. In that way, the buyer need not worry that someone else was getting a better deal. The hard sell approach was dropped. Customers were encouraged to look over the cars and ask questions, but the intent was to let the customers and cars interact on their own, without the salesperson being involved until needed or unless there was a question.

This approach was founded upon serious retraining on the part of the sales staff. They were taught what tactics and sales strategies would create the best sales experience for the customers. The Saturn ad campaigns echoed the sales strategy. They highlighted the sales experience as being different, fair and fun. They showed salespeople driving hundreds of miles to show a car to a customer in a remote location. The message from Saturn was clear: We want you to have a pleasant sales experience, and you will love your car! Saturn executives had listened and heard their target market asking for change in how cars were sold.

The entire sales experience was designed to relieve the customer anxiety about the purchase price and the purchase decision. Saturn was the first new car division for a U.S. automotive manufacturer since Ford introduced the Edsel in the late 1950s. Saturn leaders had been given a chance to design their sales process and customer experience from a clean sheet of paper. They listened well and reinforced the message in their ads. The focus was on having a great sales experience as much as it was about the innovative qualities of the car. In a very real sense, they were selling the customer buying experience. And the reward was an almost cult-like following.

We all know the end of the story – Saturn closed its doors in 2009, but as Sean McAlindin,  of the Center for Automotive Research, explained in this article that appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, it wasn’t the philosophy that failed them but rather the backlash from other divisions of GM that Saturn was taking their business (along with the hard-hitting recession). Ultimately, the philosophy worked too well, causing internal backlash!

In the countertop industry, where many businesses rely heavily on customer referrals and word-of-mouth advertising, creating a positive buying experience is even more critical. What have you done to improve your sales process for the customer?

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LG Introduces New HI-MACS Sparkle Collection Designed by Karim Rashid

Posted on 17 January 2014 by cradmin

 New Sparkle Collection of HI-MACS solid surface by Karim Rashid

The New Sparkle Collection of HI-MACS solid surface by Karim Rashid

LG Hausys has launched its new line of HI-MACS solid surface – the  Sparkle Collection designed by Karim Rashid. The collection includes five vibrant colors with strong tones and a distinctive glittering effect. The colors are: Key Lime, Kandy Pink, Kreemy Grey, Kold Silver and Kanada Violet. Like all solid surface products, the materials are nonporous, stain- and scratch-resistant, and virtually seamless when fabricated. The new colors are available now and come in the standard 1/2-in. thickness.

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ISFA Elects 2014 Board of Directors

Posted on 16 January 2014 by cradmin

David Paxton, of Paxton Countertops in Eagle, Mich., will serve as 2014 ISFA Board President

David Paxton, of Paxton Countertops in Eagle, Mich., will serve as 2014 ISFA Board President

The International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) announced the changes to the association’s Board of Directors for 2014. Fabricator Member Directors are chosen by association members, for a term of three years, with the option to renew for a second consecutive three-year term. The results of the association election were revealed at its recent annual meeting in Orlando, Fla

David Paxton, of Paxton Countertops in Eagle, Mich., will assume the role of President of the ISFA Board of Directors on Jan. 1, 2014. Paxton replaces Mike Langenderfer, of The Countertop Shop in Holland, Ohio, who now takes on the role of Immediate Past President. The former Immediate Past President, Russ Berry, of A.S.S.T. in Hanover, Pa., has now retired from the Board after several years of exemplary service to the association and the industry. Also stepping down from the board after fulfilling their terms are Associate Member Representatives Michael Astill, of R.S. Hughes in Salt Lake City, and Mark Anderson, of Cosentino in Stafford, Texas. Replacing them as Associate Member Representatives are John Hansen, of Kohler Co. in Kohler, Wis., and Jeff Smith, of Gemstone in Elkhart, Ind.

Rounding out the Executive Committee of the Board are Mellisa Hill, of Oldcastle Surfaces in Atlanta, Vice President; Erica Hussey, of JCW Countertops in Woburn, Mass., Treasurer; and Adam Albee, of Lincoln Lamination in Lincoln, Neb.

Three new board members were also voted in: Kate Dillenberg, of Bisley Fabrication iin Gresham, Wis., Mike Woods of Creative Countertop Solutions in Nashville, and Ryan Miller of VT Industries in Holstein, Iowa. Each will serve in the position of Director.

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