Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir,

With reference to an article by Mr. Mark McMunn in the Slippery Rock Gazette September 2017 edition (page 29), I have a few observations.

The kitchen countertop industry started in about 1990 and expanded very rapidly until 2007/2008. There were approximately 10,000 fabricators in the U.S. The financial crisis hit and many companies folded until there were perhaps 5,000 fab shops left. Since then, with the improvement in the economy, there has been a renewed expansion in the number of fab shops, but nowhere near that of the past, as CNC and other automated machinery have largely replaced manual labor. I suspect that Mr. McMunn is correct in saying that the numbers continue to reduce, but this may be due not only to consolidation but also the improved automation mentioned above.

Statistics at the MIA show that an average manually operated shop employs seven people and produces 250 tops annually. An efficiently automated shop will employ perhaps 10-12 people but produce 1,500 tops p.a. Given that per MIA statistics production in the countertop industry is 3/3.25 million tops annually, it follows that in theory 2,500 well run, automated shops could supply the entire annual market. 

Is it a wonder that there is consolidation? The only question in my mind is why this has taken so long?


Peter T. de Kok

Atlanta, GA