Archive | April, 2020


Stay Connected With the Industry

Posted on 30 April 2020 by cradmin3

As we all continue to deal with the uncertainties brought on by coronavirus, It’s important to reach out and stay engaged with industry peers to gain/share strategies to get through this unprecedented time.
The International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA) has a COVID-19 Resources page with a wealth of useful material along with links. The page offers information about the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, workplace safety and how to maintain business continuity, as well as links to government agencies and articles.

Additionally, every Monday at 2pm EST, ISFA will be hosting online fabricator meetings, where you can exchange concerns, ideas and solutions with your fellow fabricators.  More information is available here.

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Video: Park Industries Messaging During Tough Times

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Video: Park Industries Messaging During Tough Times

Posted on 29 April 2020 by cradmin

During the current troubled times that not only this industry, but virtually all industries are facing, it is critical to establish clear messaging that you are there for your customer and will be for the long haul. Park Industries recently put out such a video that is a prime example of just such a message.

It’s critical that the message is honest and genuine, while also comforting, which Park seemed to capture in very good form. Take a look at it and think about your own organization’s position.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and what messages you are putting out during this uncertain situation. At the same time, the company has continued to launch new products and push forward, optimistic about the future.

You may also be interested in this article about Park Industries latest TITAN CNC.

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Natural Stone Institute Debuts Silica & Slab Safety Certificate Program

Posted on 28 April 2020 by cradmin3

The Natural Stone Institute has announced the debut of a new safety resource for stone fabricators and distributors. The Silica & Slab Safety Certificate is an 8-hour online certificate that provides training material for silicosis prevention, slab handing and creating a safety program.

This program, comprised of 20 courses, is a combination of webinars, course readings, and related videos and documents. The program must be completed by one designated  safety manager. After earning the certificate, the safety manager can then administer courses to employees. Participants are encouraged to share this program with their insurance carriers to discuss potential discounts on premiums.

Natural Stone Institute Accreditation & Technical Manager Mark Meriaux commented: “Earning the Silica & Slab Safety Certificate is a way to show customers and vendors that you take safety education seriously. It shows that you value safety both within your company and to all that you have contact with outside your organization.”

The Silica & Slab Safety Certificate is free to current Natural Stone Institute members. There will be a $599 administrative fee for non-member participants.

You may also be interested in this article: Caesarstone Introduces Master of Stone Program

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Price vs Value

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The Number One Myth About Countertop Fabrication Competition

Posted on 24 April 2020 by cradmin3

by Katherine Gifford of Moraware

When you stack yourself up to other fabricators in your area, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For many, it’s the price. If you don’t have the best price in town, you’re toast, right? Well, not really.

We believe the number one myth in the fabrication world is that you must have the best price in order to win over the most customers. It’s just not true, and we’ll show you why.

Price Isn’t Everything

When a potential customer is considering new countertops for their kitchen, price is definitely a consideration. But it’s just one!

Here’s a brief list of everything a customer is looking for in a great countertop install besides the price:

  • You show up when you say you will
  • You’re friendly
  • You look professional
  • You do a great job of educating the client on different materials, styles, etc.
  • Your quote looks professional
  • You sent your quote in a timely manner
  • You have quality materials
  • You do an incredible job on the countertop installation
  • You finish when you say you’ll finish

There’s more where that came from, but as you can see, people care about all of these factors.

They’re simply weighted differently for everyone. Some people are on a time crunch. Perhaps they bought a new home and they have to move in within 2 weeks or they’ll be homeless. For them, hitting a deadline and working quickly is the most important.

Others have all the time in the world, but they have no idea what they want. For them, a salesperson that will take the time to educate, provide samples, and answer questions is the most important. A showroom also doesn’t hurt.

And then there are people who will sacrifice timeliness and professionalism for a cheap job. But in reality, are those really the customers you want to attract? These individuals are more likely to complain, cause problems, and drive you up the wall before the job is ever finished.

Don’t Be the “Cheap Guy”

If you advertise your dirt cheap prices, you’ll become known as the “cheap guy” in town. That’s not a reputation you want!

We’ve been around countertop operations for long enough to notice a clear trend: the most successful shops are the ones that charge what they’re worth. People are willing to pay for quality materials and a great experience.

How Should I Set Prices Then?

If you’re not competing to be the lowest price in town, how then do you set your prices? We’ve written about this subject before, but here are a few tips:

  • Don’t try to calculate costs down to the penny – it’s a lost cause
  • Think twice about listing each and every item on your quote – sometimes, it’s TMI
  • Do some research about pricing in your area, and aim to be within a competitive range

We’re shifting our focus from competing on price to competing on service. Once you’ve pinned down what makes your shop unique, you can stop obsessing over the price and start demanding a higher price tag.

If price isn’t everything – and I hope we’ve proven here that it’s not – it’s time to figure out where you shine the most.

What Sets Your Shop Apart?

Since we’re not worried about competing on price, it’s time to figure out what sets your shop apart. What can you offer that makes your work more valuable? What sets you apart from the other fabricators in town?

Do you have a unique:

  • Benefit, result, or outcome
  • Track record
  • Level of customization
  • Level of quality
  • Environment or presentation
  • Method or mechanism
  • Experience of doing, using, or attending
  • Bundle
  • Price or payment plan

Other things you might consider include a unique time frame – are you able to finish the job faster than the other shops in town? What about a gutsy guarantee – can you offer a warranty or free repairs for a certain amount of time?

Once you pin down what makes you unique – and valuable – you can start advertising that and stop focusing on price.

Learn more about creating your Unique Selling Proposition here: How to Create a Unique Selling Proposition for Your Countertop Shop

Add Software to Your Shop

Professionalism, timeliness, organization – several factors that customers appreciate – can be enhanced or fixed by software solutions.

Are your quotes scribbled on a scrap sheet of paper? Do they take a week to put together? Customers want a professional-looking quote, and they want it fast.

CounterGo, our countertop quoting software, can fix that problem. It helps you make a great first impression, which can often be enough to score you the job. No more hand drawing or scattered estimates.

Draw countertops in seconds

When customers call in for a status update, are they put on hold? Does the receptionist have to make several calls to find out? Customers want a quick answer, and they want the job to be finished in a timely manner.

Systemize, our scheduling software, can also fix that problem. It helps you organize and plan out your installation and templating schedule, which can be enough to wow a customer and bring in referrals. No more whiteboards or post-it notes.

all of your countertop jobs on one calendar

Fabrication software has a ton of other benefits, including:

  • Better organization
  • You can go paperless
  • You don’t have to be in your office to access the information you need
  • You can improve pricing consistency between salespeople
  • You can improve your accuracy
  • You can do slab layouts
  • You can track leftover stock
  • You’re better equipped to handle growth
  • You can keep better records
  • You can run reports, allowing to make better business decisions
  • More home time

Software like CounterGo and Systemize not only provides more value to your customers, but it helps you run your shop more efficiently.

Don’t Believe the Myth!

If anyone tells you that price is everything, don’t believe them. 

You’re worth more than the cheapest guy in town; you just need to clearly define why, and make sure you’re spreading that message.

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Natural Stone Institute Awards

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Natural Stone Institute Announces 2020 Awards Program Call for Entries

Posted on 23 April 2020 by cradmin3

The entry period for the 2020 Natural Stone Institute Awards Program is now open. The association has announced the call for entries for the Pinnacle Awards, Industry Recognition Awards and scholarship program. All entries are due by July 20.

The Pinnacle Awards honor projects where beauty, creativity, ingenuity, and craftsmanship exemplify professional mastery in the use of natural stone for commercial and residential applications. Pinnacle Awards are given in the following categories: Commercial Interior, Commercial Exterior, Renovation/Restoration, Residential Interior/Exterior (Single and Multi-Family), Architectural Carving/Lettering/Sculpture, and Public Landscapes/Parks/Memorials. A Grande Pinnacle Award, sponsored by Marmomac, will be presented to the best overall project.

The Industry Recognition Awards recognize individuals in the stone industry for exemplary contributions to the industry over a period of time. Available awards include the Migliore Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Women in Stone Pioneer Award, and the Natural Stone Craftsman of the Year Award.

Two scholarships, the Natural Stone Scholarship and the Women in Stone Empowerment Scholarship, provide hands-on educational opportunities for aspiring professionals interested in furthering their careers in the stone industry.

Award recipients will be celebrated at the annual Natural Stone Institute Awards Ceremony at TISE in Las Vegas in January 2021.

All awards are open to Natural Stone Institute members only. For more information about each award, including nomination forms, submission requirements, sponsorship information, and details on past recipients, visit

You may also be interested in this article: Caesarstone Introduces Master of Stone Program

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Park Industries TITAN 3000

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Park Industries Introduces TITAN 3000 Series

Posted on 21 April 2020 by cradmin3

Park Industries has introduced the new TITAN® 3000 CNC Router Series. It has been redesigned to dominate high-speed polishing, packed with operator friendly upgrades and maintenance automation. TITAN 3000 can route, shape, and polish stone with lower costs and maximum uptime.

New features of the TITAN 3000 Series include:

  • Refined for high-speed tooling
  • Faster movements & tool changes
  • Maintenance automation & reduced labor
  • Operator friendly upgrades
  • More protection on rails & spindle

Two Models Available: TITAN® 3700 & TITAN® 3800

Built truly American made with American iron.

You may also be interested in this article: Ghines Group Offers SYSTAR XL- Stone Fab Center & Cutting Machine – Miter Saw

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OSHA Clipboard

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OSHA Issues Enforcement Guidance For Recording Cases of COVID-19

Posted on 16 April 2020 by cradmin3

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued interim guidance for enforcing OSHA’s record-keeping requirements (29 CFR Part 1904) as it relates to recording cases of COVID-19.

Under OSHA’s record-keeping requirements, COVID-19 is a recordable illness, and employers are responsible for recording cases of COVID-19, if the following applies:

  • Is confirmed as a COVID-19 illness;
  • Is work-related as defined by 29 CFR 1904.5; and
  • Involves one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7, such as medical treatment beyond first aid or days away from work.

OSHA does not consider construction to be a high-risk industry like healthcare and emergency response industries are when it comes to transmission of the virus. As such, the agency said it will not enforce record-keeping requirements to mandate that contractors make determinations regarding whether a COVID-19 case is work related or not. Construction firms can use whatever information is reasonably available to them in deciding whether a COVID-19 case is recordable.

For example, if there are several workers who ride in the same work truck every day and one is diagnosed with COVID-19 and then a second worker who rides in that truck also is diagnosed, that is probably objective evidence that the transmission is work related. However, if both workers attended the same party at the home of someone who had COVID-19, then the employer can consider that evidence as well and determine the cases are not work related.

You may also be interested in this article: OSHA Releases Alert and Guidance on COVID-19

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LivingStone Calacatta Milan A

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LivingStone Introduces Nature-Inspired Marble Series

Posted on 13 April 2020 by cradmin3

LivingStone Surfaces announced the addition of the Marble Series to its surface collection. Inspired by natural stone, the Marble Series consists of three organic-veined patterns including Calacatta Milan, Calacatta Amalfi, and Carrara Rinato. This expands the company’s total offering to 97 robust colors.

“The Marble Series is the next generation of solid surface,” said Ed Rogers, Executive Vice President of US Surfaces. “It has the handsome appearance of naturally-veined stone with the remarkable durability, low-maintenance, and seaming properties found in our signature solid surfaces.”

According to the company the LivingStone Marble Series is a unique solid surface product that is highly versatile and suited for both commercial and residential applications, including vertical wall cladding.

“Innovation meets function with this impressive series of veined products. It looks like marble, yet it cuts just like wood — The Marble Series is easy to fabricate and provides stunning results in any application,” added Rogers.
The Marble Series boasts the same dependable characteristics found in all LivingStone Solid Surfaces — it is non-porous so germs and odors do not penetrate, is easy to clean and maintain, and is impact resistant. Two of the directional-veined patterns in this series, Calacatta Milan and Calacatta Amalfi, are available in book-match sheets to extend its installation flexibility.

You may also be interested in this article: Durasein Introduces New Collection

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Antolini Adds to Exclusive Stone Collection

Posted on 09 April 2020 by cradmin3

Antolini has recently made three new introductions to its Exclusive Stone Collection. Each carefully selected natural design stands for an unconstrained stylistic freedom. With worldwide exclusivity over the most astonishing materials and sole access to the quarries, Antolini is able to offer Mother Nature’s finest creations, in multiple finishes, through a select network of distributors and partners.

Crema Cielo (pictured above) features cascading delicate and soft hues that descend sinuously and create an admirable kinship throughout the surface of this fine marble. The fluent Crema Cielo enhances the spaces and gives a sense of lightness and spontaneity thanks to the wavy streams that allow a constantly evolving smooth shape.

Louise Blue features Mediterranean aqua hues that settle into a deep green emerald tide as colors bleed into one another like delta waters. This quartzite, a work of art created by the heart of the earth, is a symbol of unintentional creativity that’s been alive much longer than Mankind’s imagination

Quartzite Celadon is a unique unity of modern, contemporary design with the timeless look of natural stone. The grey and white ribbons of Quartzite Celadon gracefully cascade into the design.

You may also be interested in this article: Artistic Tile Introduces Colorful New Slabs

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Durasein Charming Collection

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Durasein Introduces New Collection

Posted on 07 April 2020 by cradmin3

Durasein has introduced its newest collection of five grey solid surface colorways, Charming.

These calm, cool, and collected decors are a dream for those who understand that style doesn’t have to be overstated.

The Charming Collection includes:

  • Eventide – this charcoal grey conjures the spirit of nightfall
  • Harmony – brown and grey now co-exist in one kumbaya color
  • Luna – this luminous grey color will lead you into a new phase of design bliss
  • Naturally – this combo of grey, sand and white feels effortlessly perfect anywhere you use it
  • Serenity – brings a sense of inner calm at finding the perfect grey

You may also be interested in this article: Cosentino Adds Two New Dekton Series

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