Archive | December, 2014

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GranQuartz Offers MB20 Polish Powder

Posted on 29 December 2014 by cradmin

GranquartzGranQuartz now offers MB20 Polish Powder, an exclusive proprietary blend of abrasives and polishing agents that polish granite and most other stone. The polish is for use with a variable-speed right angle grinder with a 5- or 7-in. pad driver and a natural fiber pad. Only a small amount of the polish is required and areas being polished should be masked off and free of any coatings, waxes, sealers, grease or soil.

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Cosentino Opens First Showroom in Toronto

Posted on 26 December 2014 by cradmin

Cosentino opened its first showroom in Toronto’s Design District, marking the company’s foray into the Canadian market. The new 10,000-square-foot facility offers architecture and design professionals a state-of-the-art, interactive environment for educational and networking events, as well as a complete showcase of the latest surfacing products from the Spain-based company.

While the first of its kind in Canada, the Toronto facility is the 29th North American Center. Cosentino master distributor International Logistics will operate the newly opened Toronto Center. Cosentino plans to continue strengthening its presence in Canada throughout 2015, with two Centers slated to open in Calgary and Vancouver that the company will directly operate. The expansion is estimated to create 45 jobs, and will increase the availability and distribution of its products.

“Toronto is an innovative design hub and an essential starting point as we continue our expansion across North America,” said Eduardo Cosentino, president and CEO of Cosentino, North America. “By increasing our presence and operations through the opening of Centers across the nation, we are able to more efficiently meet the needs of our Canadian customers by offering an increased inventory, design tools and inspiration and product experts in their local markets.”

The Toronto center features a fully functioning Miele kitchen, which allows for live demonstrations and interactions alongside the center’s comprehensive showcase of the full portfolio of Cosentino brands, including: Silestone quartz surfacing; ECO by Cosentino recycled surfaces; SenSa Granite; Scalea Natural Stone; MURO Mosaics; the Prexury Collection, a semi-precious stone line handmade by expert craftsmen, and Dekton, an ultra-compact surface with interior and exterior architectural applications.

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ETemplate ELaser Now Links with CabinetVision Software

Posted on 24 December 2014 by cradmin

EtemplateETemplate Systems’ ELaser 3-D measuring system now links to CabinetVision software for cabinet design and layout. This new module to the ELaser Pro system enables users to quickly and accurately capture wall profiles, level and plumb information, locations of doors, windows, outlets, switches and plumbing. The ELaser Measure Manager software draws the 3-D room model as points are collected by the laser. Once the room is measured, the software then exports an ORD file that can be directly opened by CabinetVision.

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The National Kitchen & Bath Association Announces 2015 President and Executive Committee

Posted on 23 December 2014 by cradmin

maria stapperfenne 2015 NKBA president

Maria Stapperfenne 2015 NKBA president

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) announced its 2015 Executive Committee, led by 2015 President Maria Stapperfenne, CKD, CBD of Whitehouse Station, N.J. Mark Kovich, of Winchester, Va., was named 2015 President-Elect, and Denise Dick, CMKBD, of Carrollton, Texas, will serve as Vice President. Lorenzo Marquez, of Sugar Land, Texas, will assume the role of Treasurer, and Blue Arnold, CKD, CBD, of Jarrettsville, Md., will hold the position of Secretary. John A. Petrie, CMKBD, of Mechanicsburg, Pa. will serve as Immediate Past President.

Maria Stapperfenne, CKD, CBD, started her career in kitchens and baths in 1992, becoming a Certified Kitchen Designer in 2005 and a Certified Bath Designer in 2006. She is the manager of Tewksbury Kitchens & Baths, a division of Huston Lumber & Supply Co., and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Trenton State College. Maria has been active in the Northern NJ Chapter, serving as President, Secretary, VP of Technology & Communications and Chapter Representative. She has served as a Region Director, member of the Board of Directors, Certification Test Validation Committee, Nominating Committee, Industry Segment Task Force, Development Task Force, Governance Task Force and a judge for the NKBA Design Competition.

Mark Kovich, of Waypoint Living Spaces, has been a part of the kitchen & bath industry for 23 years. During this time, he has served on the advisory council of manufacturers (as Chair), as well as Virginia Tech. Most recently, he served on the NKBA Board of Directors as a Member at Large.

Denise Dick has been active in the kitchen and bath industry since 1984 as a designer, trainer, training development writer and consultant. In 2002, she opened Signature Kitchens by Design, a full-service conceptual design agency that offers design, planning and comprehensive management of remodeling projects. She has been active in her NKBA chapter from the beginning, serving as President, VP of Technology and Communications, VP of Membership, Secretary and Chapter Representative.

Lorenzo Marquez is Vice President of Marketing for Cosentino North America, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of quartz, natural stone, and recycled surfaces. He serves on the NKBA KBIS Advisory Council and is an active member of the A+D and Kitchen & Bath community.

Blue Arnold is the Principal of Kitchens by Request, Inc. He has served on the NKBA Board of Directors since 2013, and has held the following positions in the Baltimore/Washington Chapter: President 2007-2008, VP Strategic Planning 2009, VP Programs 2004-2006, Secretary 2002-2003, and currently, Chapter Representative.

John A. Petrie has been working in the kitchen and bath industry since 1987, designing custom kitchens, bathrooms, home offices, wine cellars and home theaters. He is the owner of Mother Hubbard’s Custom Cabinetry, and has served the Susquehanna Valley Chapter of the NKBA as Treasurer, Vice President of Communications, President, and Chapter Representative. During his tenure on the NKBA Board of Directors, he has served on numerous committees and chaired several task forces.

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A Look at the Natural Stone Sustainability Standard ANSI/NSC-373

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A Look at the Natural Stone Sustainability Standard ANSI/NSC-373

Posted on 23 December 2014 by cradmin

In 2014, after 5 years in development, the ANSI/NSC-373 standard for “Sustainable Production of Natural Dimension Stone” was released, and recently TexaStone Quarries was the first to be certified under that standard. So, we thought we would share with you this video that explains the standards developed by the Natural Stone Council (NSC) and the reason behind them. This video, put out by BillLevyProductions, offers interviews with a variety of industry players and some of the folks behind the development of the standard explaining why it was developed and gives a very good review of what types of things are part of the certification process and how it works.

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the program, the video or stone in relation to sustainability, so drop us a line at [email protected].

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Fabricator Profile: StoneTek Creative Solutions

Posted on 22 December 2014 by cradmin


StoneTek Creative Solutions, located in New Bedford, Mass., is one of the most successful countertop fabricators in the area, and owner Mario Ferreira believes that the company’s success is based on quality products and exceptional service. However, Ferreira believes that these high standards do not come about easily. Rather, they are nurtured by promoting positive behavior and habits.

Although he says that it is important to be a professional when interacting with customers and employees, Ferreira states that it is just as vital to act professionally toward his competitors. Although it has been a long trend for businesses to think of the competition as “enemies” or as “evil,” he discovered several benefits in establishing alliances with others in the industry.

In 2010, StoneTek helped to form an informal group of competing fabricators that met on a monthly basis to discuss industry topics that affected all of them. It is possible to help fellow fabricators without undermining your own business. The group no longer meets regularly, but a few former members still keep in touch and share thoughts concerning best practices.

According to Ferreira, positive behavior provides several benefits, including higher profits, better organizational skills and happier customers. However, it also puts a business in a better position for growth.

StoneTek is already considered to be one of the top three stone fabricators in all of New England. The company employs 39 people and services 247 dealers across three states. More than 600 sq. ft. of surface is processed each day  in its fully automated shop

Read more of this Fabricator Profile here: StoneTek Creative Solutions

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TexaStone Quarries Named First Company to Meet NSC Sustainability Standards

Posted on 19 December 2014 by cradmin

TexaStone Quarries, based in Garden City, Texas, is the first company to achieve the level of certified stone producer under new sustainability standards. The creation of the program – ANSI/NSC-373 Sustainable Production of Natural Dimension Stone – was completed earlier this year, following several years of development using the consensus-based American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process. Achieving the voluntary standards allows six quarries operated by the company to receive “Gold” certification, and its closely-allied fabrication plant to receive a “Silver” certification. The certifications came after facility inspections and paperwork verification by NSF Sustainability. And, there are reportedly several other stone companies that have begun the certification process.

The ANSI/NSC 373 standards cover nine facets of a quarrier and fabricator’s operation, including water usage and recycling, custody and transportation, site and plant management, land reclamation and adaptive use, corporate governance, energy use and conservation, management of excess process materials and waste, safer chemical and materials management and human and health considerations. There is also an optional “innovations” standard. There also are chain-of-custody certification standards for stone distributors.

Four levels of certification are available for quarriers and fabricators: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Each individual entity can be certified individually. Transparent, credible standards and independent third-party certification are important to those in the construction industry seeking more sustainable stone products. This includes local, state and federal government agencies and others seeking to comply with U.S. Executive Order 13514, which sets a goal for 95 percent of government contracts to include products and services with sustainable attributes, as well as a U.S. General Services Administration standard for sustainable construction (GSA PBS-P100 facilities standards for the public building service).

There are 18 requirements under ANSI/NSC-373 with a total of 41 possible points. The more points a company earns, the higher designation it receives. The maximum points will earn the platinum level. Companies can upgrade to higher levels by improving in various areas of the program, and each facility must be re-certified every four years.

“The growing ‘green’ movement required us to develop standards that allow us to compare out products with others in the marketplace,” said Duke Pointer, Natural Stone Council (NSC) executive director. “Certification of TexaStone as a sustainable producer of natural dimension-stone products is a major milestone for NSC’s nearly five-year program to develop sustainability standards that dovetail with natural stone’s inherent qualities of beauty, durability and variety.”

“The industry wanted to identify how the stone was processed from the quarries and the processors,” said Tom Bruursema, general manager of NSF Sustainability. “As the first to earn certification to ANSI/NSC 373, TexaStone leads its industry in adopting more sustainable practices that help its customers and organizations meet the continued growth in green buildings.”

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Park Industries Offers HydroClear Systems for Water Treatment

Posted on 18 December 2014 by cradmin

Park Industries HydroClear_80Park Industries offers a variety of water system options in its new HydroClear Systems for managing water in countertop fabrication shops. The systems’ unique designs allow slurry to rapidly settle, ensuring clarified water at high-flow rates to machines, reports the company. The systems feature a variety of configurations available to manage small, medium and large facilities, with 80, 100 and 120 gallon per minute flow rates. They have galvanized towers with graded plate chambers for fast settling and a 1,000 gal. holding tank. They LCD control systems, designed to be easy to operate, and three water clarification models are available.

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International Surface Fabricators Association Names 2014 Award Winners

Posted on 16 December 2014 by cradmin

Russ Berry, president of A.S.S.T, named ISFA 2014 Fabricator of the Year

Russ Berry, A.S.S.T, ISFA 2014 Fabricator of the Year

The International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) announced the winners of its annual awards at the association’s recent annual meeting in Atlanta. The ISFA awards are chosen by association members, and given to those in the industry that stand out as the very best.

The Fabricator of the Year Award was given to A.S.S.T., Allegheny, Pa. Accepting the award was owner and president, Russ Berry. The Fabricator of the Year is awarded to an individual of a fabricator member company that in the past year has best exemplified the ISFA ideals of quality, innovation, character and exemplary service to ISFA and/or the decorative surfacing industry, with overall excellence. A.S.S.T. is recognized not only for the amazing fabrication work done by the company on a regular basis, but also for the tireless support the company has given to ISFA with many projects and events the association implemented.

Mike Nolan, former ISFA education director and board member

Mike Nolan – ISFA 2014 Hall of Fame Award Winner

The Hall of Fame Award was presented to Mike Nolan of Windbound Surfaces. The Hall of Fame Award is given to the individual, or individuals, who have in the course of their career made significant contributions to the decorative surfacing industry, and have demonstrated leadership and commitment to the ideals of ISFA. Accepting posthumously on behalf of Mike Nolan was Keith Haight. Mike was a former education director and past board member of ISFA, and his love of the industry was infectious. The mark he left on so many through the vital role he played in training and educating members will not soon be forgotten. The award was delivered to Mike’s widow Terry who remembered fondly his passion for craftsmanship and teaching others.

The Associate of the Year Award is given to an associate member company that in the past year has best exemplified the role of servicing the needs of fabricator member companies, and who has best supported ISFA in all activities. This year’s winner was Dixie Plywood and Lumber Company, Savannah, Ga. Accepting the award were Nelsy Leyba and Tom Heard. Dixie Plywood was recognized for its level of participation in ISFA events and activities and for its instrumental involvement in helping to design and implement one of the courses for ISFA’s Continuing Education Program.

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18 Ways to Get More Business

Posted on 15 December 2014 by cradmin

by Paul Lemberg

In our modern business climate, most of us welcome all the help we can get in increasing sales through traditional methods, but you can also put some extra money in your pocket through alternative revenue sources. One of the secrets to increasing profit is to try something you aren’t already doing that has low overhead in terms of both cost and resources. Following are 18 ways you can bring in additional business and strengthen your bottom line. However, it should be noted that these are not long-term business strategies. These are short-term to medium-term tactics designed to put cash in your bank account within the next 30 to 90 days.

1.  Hire a salesperson. Or, if you already have salespeople, hire another one. You may not be able to pay them a salary, so make it a position that is based completely on commission, and make the commission generous. And of course, pay their expenses. This will work best if you have a sales process in place and some kind of systemized knowledge that will bring them up to speed quickly.

2.  Get some sales training. The Sandler Selling System is great for simple sales. Mike Bosworth’s Customer Centric Selling is great for complex sales. Of course there are many others, and any good sales training program will get your sales off whatever dime you are stuck on.

3.  Start a referral program. This doesn’t mean simply ask for referrals, but do it routinely. Do it systematically. Have a method to ask, and have a method to reward people who do refer.

4.  Add products to your back end. The costliest part of business is getting new customers. Why not maximize your investment and sell those customers additional products and services?

5.  Bundle specific services into a productized form. Give them a name. Make the price fixed. Typically, the productizing and fixed price enables you to sell at higher prices than you had previously set.

6.  Raise your prices. Most people undervalue what they do and charge way too little for it. And many others discount from their list prices at the drop of a hat. Stop discounting, but if you must, always get something in exchange. Think tradeoffs. And raise your rates for both services and products.

7.  Establish joint ventures. Find people who have something you need, like products or customers, and trade with them. Pool your resources. Pool your time. Create something larger than either of you alone. Turn it into a win-win situation.

8. Form strategic alliances. How does this differ from the joint ventures mentioned above? Strategic alliance partners are only involved in one aspect of your business – in other words, they may source leads or products. A joint venture partner is a deeper involvement. You’ll work more closely on a wider range of aspects.

9. Charge referral fees. You probably make these referrals anyway. Now get paid for them.

10. Join affiliate programs. This is simply the systemized approach to referral fees, and on the Internet, this is THE way to do business. In many cases, all you need to do is place a small add or link on your website. Your viewers will do the rest.

11. Sell a subscription to your service. Maybe a countertop maintenance program? Lock in the revenue and accelerate the payments. Then give your customers special bonuses or super service for being subscribers or members.

12. Create bundles out of all your existing products. Put things together and offer special pricing. This may lower your per-unit revenue, but it will increase average transaction size as well as total revenue.

13. Set up a Rolodex routine. This means going through your Rolodex or contact list, name-by-name, and calling everyone who looks promising. For something. For selling, for networking, for referrals or even just for a “how are you doing.”

14. Conduct a survey. Ask your client base questions. This process will yield great information about your market, and it will always bring you unexpected business.

15. Offer your services or products at a silent or charity auction. While this won’t bring in money immediately, it will almost always expand your client base.

16. Offer to let key influencers give away some of your time or product samples. Real estate agents, designers, cabinet shops, flooring centers, etc.

17. Focus your market. Many people try to cover too much ground. By becoming a noted expert in a tightly defined market niche, you can increase the power of all your marketing efforts, bringing in more business for each marketing dollar you spend.

18. Shift into an adjacent market. Sometimes your market niche is exhausted, and sometimes your customers are simply maxed out on spending. A shift into an adjacent market niche can bring you all kinds of new business.

About the Author

Paul Lemberg’s clients call him “the unreasonable consultant” because he helps them see the unnecessary limits they place upon themselves and encourages, cajoles and, at times, beats them over the head to take bold, sometimes uncomfortable and often unreasonable, actions to reach their critical business goals. He is CEO of Axcelus Consulting, a systematic business acceleration program helping entrepreneurs and executives rapidly create faster-growing, profitable and sustainable businesses. He also wrote a book:  Be Unreasonable (McGraw-Hill, 2007). Lembergis available for keynote and executive retreats and can be reached via His blog can be found at

Copyright© 2014, Paul Lemberg. All right reserved. For information, contact FrogPond at email [email protected].

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