From the Editor

When I first started with the Slippery Rock in March 2000, the stone industry was in transition to more modern techniques and machinery. Many of America’s major quarry operations and stone distributors were also in transition, including the monument industries in Barre, Vermont and Elberton, Georgia, the limestone industry in Indiana, and local (to us) operations like Tennessee Marble. The wealth of history surrounding the North American operations I visted was astounding. 

Family-owned countertop shops seemed to be the rule, passing from the hands of one generation to the next. In the quarry and dimensional stone sectors of the industry, I am still inspired by stories of the craftsmen who worked with stone all their lives, and taught their children and apprentices the secrets of making a living polishing, carving and installing stone. 

CNC equipment was just being introduced into America, and innovations like dependable resin pads were becoming more the norm than a new-fangled invention in countertop shops, changing the “way we always did it.” The stone industry was growing and becoming more sophisticated in its business and production methods. I feel honored that the  Slippery Rock was able to announce and review many of these innovations. 

Over the last ten years, with the rise and demise of literally thousands of shops and stone businesses across America, countertop manufacturers have become smarter, more efficient and more diversified to survive and prosper. Family-owned businesses are still around. So are a growing number of larger enterprises. They all have interesting stories to tell, advice to impart, or new inventions to increase profitability and save labor and life and limb. It is those stories, inventions and history-makers, new and old, that I’ll continue to seek out and present to our readers.

Last month, we presented opinions on a prevailing trend: consolidation in the stone industry, from different sectors of the stone industry. We will continue to report on this development.

This issue in our Training and Education section, we present tips and opportunities to make your stone business safer and more profitable.

Enjoy our industry spotlight this issue on Premier Countertops, and send your comments on any of our article Care Of the Editor. Who knows? We could be featuring your shop, next.

Good reading! – Larry Hood