ISFA's Countertops & Architectural Surfaces Vol. 16, Issue 4

Page 1

VOLUME 16 / ISSUE 4 • QUARTER 4, 2023 • SINGLE ISSUE $14.95

Making an Impact

Join the movement toward a brighter future by embracing sustainable products and processes in your business.


CREDITS Editor: Sarah Peiper Contributors: Stephen Alberts Ambro Blackwell Nancy Busch Tony Calvert Brian Kang Paul “Max” Le Pera Austin Maxwell Jessica McNaughton Tim Saddoris Sylvia Yoo Ed Young Proofreader: Marsha Jo Scott Design: V2 Marketing & Management Printing and Distribution: LSC Communications

Opinions expressed by contributors in this magazine are not necessarily the opinions of Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine or the International Surface Fabricators Association, but rather those of the individual writers. PHOTOGRAPHY

Photos in this publication may not depict proper safety procedures for creative purposes. ISFA and Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine support the use of proper safety procedures in all cases and urge readers to take steps to institute such procedures. Photography/graphics provided by: Stephen Alberts


BACA Systems

Häcker Kitchens


International Surface Fabricators Association

Ambro Blackwell Cambria CaraGreen Corian Design Cosentino Domain Industries


Countertops & Architectural Surfaces (ISSN 2372-983X) is published quarterly by the International Surface Fabricators Association (ISFA), with a fifth edition, a Buyers Guide, publishing in October. Individual copies of Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine are available at the nonmember newsstand price of $14.95. Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine is also available by annual subscription (five issues) for $30.00. ISFA members receive a complimentary annual subscription with every membership renewal. Special rates and charges apply for orders outside of the United States. To subscribe, call (888) 599-ISFA. For change of address, please include old label with new information, including both old and new ZIP codes. Allow 3-6 weeks for address change to take effect. Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine is proudly printed in the United States of America. Copyright © International Surface Fabricators Association 2023. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise reproduced without the publisher’s written consent. Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine and the International Surface Fabricators Association assume no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs. Materials will be returned only if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope.

4 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

Durasein Durat

Hyundai L&C USA Karran USA Laminam Lapitec Laser Products Industries Lensology Photography Meganite Museum Surfaces




Park Industries

ENVI Surfaces


GEM Industries

Redemption Stone Craft


Walker Zanger



POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: LSC Communications c/o Countertops & Architectural Surfaces magazine 3401 Heartland Drive Liberty, MO 64068



22 FEATURES 22 Financing Sustainability: Unlocking Growth Opportunities in Your Business


Discover the financial solutions you need to propel your business toward a more sustainable and lucrative future.


24 Sustain Your Sales: How to Make Sure Your Top Customers Stay Your Top Customers Never underestimate the power of fostering strong relationships, which are critical to building a sustainable business.

28 Eco-Friendly Fabrication: Sustainable Products for Your Shop


Check out these sustainable materials, tools and solutions for your shop.

38 ISFA Fabricator Profile: Redemption Stone Craft


This fully automated shop thrives on technology, thoughtful planning, streamlined processes and superior customer service.

44 Master the Art of Choosing the Right Sink for Your Next Project Get a glimpse of the wide array of sinks that reflect your clients’ tastes and needs.

DEPARTMENTS Cover Photo Hyundai L&C is proud to introduce the Opimo Collection by HanStone Quartz, our newest approach to countertop creation. This remarkable collection is an outcome of HanStone’s unwavering commitment to innovation, being the very first quartzite-looking quartz created leveraging the latest technology. Today, we invite you to become a part of this new experience, and with you, we are raising the bar on surfacing design. For more information, please visit

Follow us on social media!


6 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association




Editor’s Note


Calendar of Events


Industry News


Education Connection


Sustainability Matters


Perspectives: Nancy Busch




ISFA Associate Member Directory


Product News


Perspectives: Austin Maxwell


Protecting Our Planet and Our People This issue’s themes of sustainability and safety are resonating with me now more than ever, since this summer, I witnessed firsthand the devastating consequences of decisions made hundreds of years ago. On August 8, 2023, deadly wildfires swept across the island of Maui in Hawaii, completely decimating the town of Lahaina and other areas, one of which was just a few miles down the road from my home. While the fires were likely sparked by downed power lines and hurricaneforce winds, experts say that drought conditions played a key role — drought conditions and unruly grasslands in an area that used to be lush wetlands. How they got that way is a mix of climate change and human impact. According to Kaniela Ing, a seventh-generation Indigenous Hawaiian and national director of the Green New Deal Network, the landscape surrounding Lahaina used to be lush — nothing like it looks today. “It was the birthplace of aquaculture, with fish ponds across town, and people orienting life around nature, rather than in conflict with it.” She says the landscape started to change in the mid-1800s as the whaling industry boomed, and a stream was diverted into a canal to bring fresh water to sailors who docked at Lahaina. Later, as white settlers implemented sugar plantations, they diverted water to support their monocrops. These wetlands were essentially drained for development in the name of progress and profit. Elena Bryant, senior associate attorney for Earthjustice, echos, “Lahaina was known as the ‘Venice of the Pacific.’ More than a century of water and land mismanagement, in addition to drought worsened by climate change, set the conditions for the most devastating wildfire in the history of Hawaii and the entire United States in more than a century.” Today, the plantations are gone, and the land around Lahaina is dry and covered with invasive guinea grass. The streams are still diverted, only now to provide resorts and luxury homes with swimming pools, irrigated golf courses and more. What seemed like a good idea — for prosperity! — has had farreaching consequences. It’s a wake-up call that no one should ignore. As we witness other natural disasters all over the world — floods, fires, rising sea temperatures, unprecedented weather events — we must realize that it’s all a lot of cause and effect. There are some strong parallels when we think of safety and 8 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

sustainability in our industry. Consider how stone and minerals are mined, reshaping hillsides, and forests cut while impacting ecosystems — all these actions affect what tomorrow looks like. The safety of our workers, fabricating materials that pose health hazards — we know lives are on the line. There are consequences. We all have a responsibility to look at our decisions and how they impact the future, the environment and our people. These problems won’t solve themselves, so it takes all of us to embrace change and stand as leaders to protect our workers and natural resources and find alternative paths to prosperity by using innovative tools and materials that minimize environmental impact. In this issue of Countertops & Architectural Surfaces, we break down ways to rethink how you do business to embrace sustainability. Read about how you can get the financing you need to implement capital equipment that can help you minimize waste, use renewable energy, or recycle water (page 22); learn how you can create sustainability in your business by fostering lasting relationships and partnerships (page 24); and get in on more than a dozen materials and solutions that solve for our industry’s environmental impact (page 28). Our Sustainability Matters team asks the tough questions we all need to answer about how safety plays a role in the future of our businesses because sustainability is about protecting our greatest resource, our people (page 34). What has been lost on Maui cannot be replaced; Lahaina will never be the same. But frankly, for more than 150 years, it wasn’t as it should be. It’s a long road ahead to fully understand this fire’s impact and rebuild what was once a thriving community. It must be a catalyst for change. As we look forward to a new year, I encourage you to take steps toward nurturing a brighter future and remember that financial gain and sustainable initiatives are not mutually exclusive.



Middle East Stone Show December 3-6 Dubai, UAE

C.Next Fabricators 2024 January 30-February 3, 2024 Los Cabos, Mexico

ISFA Webinar: Creating Raving Fans & Loyal Customers with Gratitude

ISFA MemberConnect Meeting February 22 Virtual

Campaigns December 6

Behind the Surface Podcast: The Art of Upselling December 11

ISFA MemberConnect Meeting December 14 Virtual The International Surface Event (TISE) 2024 January 24-26 Las Vegas

KBIS 2024 February 27-29 Las Vegas NAHB International Builders Show 2024 February 27-29 Las Vegas ISFA Roundtable March 7 Location TBD Xiamen Stone Fair March 16-19 Xaimen, China ISFA Solid Surface Fabrication Training March 26-27 San Antonio, Texas Woodworking Industry Conference April 9-11 St. Petersburg, Fla. Coverings April 22-25 Atlanta

ISFA Solid Surface Fabrication Training June 4-5 Chicago AIA Conference on Architecture June 5-8 Washington, D.C. NeoCon June 10-12 Chicago ISFA Solid Surface Fabrication Training August 6-7 San Antonio, Texas International Woodworking Fair August 6-9 Atlanta ISFA Roundtable August 15 Location TBD ISFA Fabricator Crawl September 10-11 Location TBD ISFA MemberConnect Meeting September 19 Virtual ISFA Roundtable October 10 Location TBD

HD Expo & Conference April 30-May 2 Las Vegas

ISFA Solid Surface Fabrication Training October 22-23 Boston

ISFA Roundtable May 9 Location TBD

ISFA MemberConnect Meeting November 14 Virtual

Submit your event for consideration in Calendar of Events by emailing Editor Sarah Peiper, 10 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

IN THE INDUSTRY Registration Now Open for KBIS and IBS 2024 The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) opened

2024 and all that KBIS has to offer.”

registration for the 2024 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS),

KBIS and the National Association of Home Builders’

which will take place February 27-29, 2024, at the Las Vegas

International Builders’ Show (IBS) are pleased to continue co-

Convention Center.

locating. Building on over a decade of collaboration, Design

KBIS is the largest North American trade expo and networking

& Construction Week (DCW) will feature more than 1,900

opportunity for kitchen and bath industry professionals. The 2024

combined exhibitors and 1,100,000 total net square feet for 2024.

show will host more than 500 exhibitors and include programming

More than 100,000 design and construction professionals are

and awards across various categories. The annual event is owned

expected to attend to see the newest products and meet with

by NKBA and produced by Emerald Expositions.

industry experts.

“KBIS shines a spotlight on kitchen and bath design and

“We are thrilled to once again bring together the housing

technology. It’s an incredible opportunity for both new exhibitors

industry for the event of the year,” said NAHB Chairman Alicia

and alumni to showcase their latest products and innovations —

Huey, a custom home builder and developer from Birmingham,

and for design professionals to discover the trends that will lead

Alabama. “This event is the spotlight for the industry’s cutting-

the industry in the coming year,” said Suzie Williford, NKBA

edge products and trends, unbeatable education offerings, and the

executive vice president and chief strategy officer. “Building from

chance to network with other industry leaders. This year, we are

a record-setting 2023 edition, this year marks the 60th anniversary

excited to roll out even more opportunities and special features

of KBIS, and we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate this

that our attendees are sure to love.”

milestone with an even larger layout and new programming.” This milestone year for KBIS will prove to be its largest yet —

An IBS Expo+Education Pass gives attendees three-day access to all IBS Education sessions as well as entry to IBS and KBIS show

an additional 50,000 square feet of exhibits will bring the show’s

floors. This includes 100+ sessions led by renowned experts on a

expanded footprint across three expo halls to more than 450,000

wide range of industry topics and daily keynotes and sessions led

square feet — displaying top-of-the-line products from leading-

by high-profile speakers on industry trends. And new this year,

edge exhibitors.

IBS will offer even more of the most highly sought-after sessions as

2024 exhibitors will include Beko, Cambria, Compac, Cosentino, Delta, Emtek, Fabuwood, Forte Group, GE Appliances Café and Monogram and Profile brands, James Martin Vanities,

encore sessions to ensure that attendees have greater flexibility in scheduling the sessions they want to attend. And for those looking to make the most of their show

Karran, Kohler, LX Hausys, Middleby, Miele, Moen, Pfister,

experience, several pre-show learning opportunities are offered

SMEG, Signature Kitchen Suite, Top Knobs – Hardware Resources,

Feb. 25-26, available for additional fees.

TOTO, Whirlpool and Z-Line, among others. With a growing international scope, KBIS will host brands from Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom, among other countries. In addition, KBIS continues to grow beyond kitchens and baths, expanding to include products for outdoor kitchens, laundry rooms, bedrooms, walk-in closets and more. “Over its 60-year history, KBIS has established itself as a ‘must-attend’ event for industry leaders. The show is a place for connection across disciplines with colleagues able to network and exchange ideas,” said Jason McGraw, CTS, group vice president of KBIS. “We look forward to 12 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

Learn more at

IN THE INDUSTRY Leaders from Skilled Trades Industries Unite to Combat Labor Crisis in U.S. and Canada NEST, the pioneers of integrated facilities management, has teamed up with leaders across the construction, retail and skilled trades industries to create the Skilled Trades Advisory Council (STAC). Aimed to combat the crisis facing skilled labor in the U.S. and Canada, STAC’s founding advisers will leverage their resources and knowledge, and network to elevate the skilled trades as high-paying, honorable, and often heroic career paths, including electrical, plumbing, HVAC, janitorial, construction and other essential jobs that require a rejuvenated workforce. “I’m encouraged that so many others share my passion for growing the trades and ending the stigma that surrounds jobs in the industry,” said Rob Almond, CEO of NEST, who spearheaded the initiative. “STAC is a way for many of us to work together and find ways to encourage youth to consider a career in the skilled trades.” According to online recruiting platform Handshake, the application rate for young people seeking technical jobs dropped by 49% in 2022 compared to 2020. Staffing firm PeopleReady estimates 40% of the 12 million people in the skilled trades workforce are over the age of 45, with nearly half of those workers over the age of 55. Associated Builders and Contractors reported that the construction industry will need to attract an estimated 546,000 additional workers on top of the normal pace of hiring in 2023 to meet the demand for labor.

LOTTE Partners with Doyle Farris To Distribute Staron Solid Surface LOTTE Staron announced a partnership with Doyle Farris. This collaboration aims to bring the Staron solid surface brand to a broader audience across the U.S. market. Doyle Farris will be stocking the complete range of Staron solid surface colors available in the U.S. This streamlined distribution process will result in accelerated lead times, enhancing the accessibility of Staron products for customers through large market distribution, making it more convenient than ever to experience the exceptional qualities of Staron solid surface. Visit for details on the territory of distribution. International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 13

IN THE INDUSTRY DOL, OSHA Ramp Up Enforcement, Compliance Regarding Silica Safety The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched a new initiative focused on enhancing enforcement and providing compliance assistance to protect workers

hazards in covered industries where workers face exposure to high levels of silica dust. OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and

in the engineered stone fabrication and installation industries.

Health identify silica dust exposure as a health hazard for workers

“Many workers in the engineering stone industry are

involved in manufacturing, finishing and installing natural and

experiencing illnesses so severe that they’re unable to breathe —

manufactured stone, which includes the human-made, engineered,

much less work a full shift — because of their exposure to silica dust,”

artificial or cultured types.

explained assistant secretary for Occupational Safety and Health

When inhaled, very small crystalline silica particles expose

Doug Parker. “Among them is a 27-year-old worker in California,

workers to the risk of silicosis, an incurable, progressively disabling

who went to an emergency room with shortness of breath in 2022

and sometimes fatal lung disease. Unsafe silica dust exposure can also

and whose lung biopsy later revealed he had silicosis. Since then, he

lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or kidney disease.

has been on an oxygen tank and unable to support his wife and three young children.” Supplementing OSHA’s current National Emphasis Program for

A July 2023 study released by the American Medical Association underscores the dangers for workers in these industries. The “Silicosis Among Immigrant Engineered Stone Countertop Fabrication

Respirable Crystalline Silica, this initiative will focus enforcement

Workers in California” study cited 52 male patients diagnosed with

efforts on industry employers to make sure they’re following required

silicosis caused by occupational exposure to respirable silica dust from

safety standards and providing workers with the protections required

engineered stone.

to keep them healthy. It establishes procedures for prioritizing federal OSHA inspections to identify and ensure prompt abatement of

14 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

Visit to learn more.

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 15


Current economic signals are all over the map. Some geographic areas are

money to advertise. This is a poor strategy for several reasons.

still seeing record growth while some

With many fab shops tucked away

are already slowing significantly. Some

in commercial areas, marketing is the

market segments are still strong (large

primary way to let the public know you

commercial projects) while some are

exist. Cutting the ad budget could lead

weakening (new housing starts in some

many people to think you may have

areas). Some forecasters predict a “soft

gone out of business. This is doubly so

landing” while others are predicting

if you also cut showroom hours in an

something more significant. Still other

attempt to reduce labor.

Taking the opposite approach of your competitors can yield strong dividends. Upgrade Labor Even prior to the pandemic, good people were hard to find. Lockdowns made that many times worse. Experiencing a reduction in orders, some shops have started cutting operating hours while others have

forecasters say we won’t have any sort

If the market is truly shrinking

of recession. It’s no wonder many shop

(lower overall sales level) and if the

owners are confused about how to plan

majority of shops cut their marketing

for the next few years.

to voluntarily leave for another job

already laid off some employees. When hours get cut, the first people

activities, then any shop that continues

The good news is this uncertainty is

are usually the best employees —

to advertise or even increases its ad

creating opportunities for shop owners

because they can more easily find other

budget has a chance to increase its

who recognize them and are prepared to

opportunities. If you have some current

market share. This means the shop that

employees who aren’t performing, the

continues to advertise can maintain its

increased pool of experienced employees

sales level during slow times. Executed

can allow you an opportunity to upgrade

well, this approach can even increase

your staff. If you have a competitor that

your share of the market because other

has cut back on shop hours, consider

companies think a market is shrinking),

shops aren’t marketing. When the

placing yard signs near that competitor

most business owners automatically start

market eventually turns around, as

or use geofencing to target specific areas

to reduce their operating costs. One of

they always do, the shop that increased

when advertising your current openings.

the first items to be cut is advertising.

its market share will grow much

Their logic is, if people aren’t buying as

more quickly than those who stopped

limited to the surface fabrication

much, then there is no point spending


industry. Most businesses follow this

take advantage of them. Increase Market Share When a market shrinks (or when

16 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

This cost-cutting mentality isn’t

EDUCATION CONNECTION model. If you have a good training

to match every hour an

program, there will be more quality

employee volunteers

applicants of all backgrounds to select

with an hour of pay.

from, allowing you the opportunity to

For example, they

upgrade your workforce.

work an hour for free

Enhance Your Company Image Get your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) out there. If you don’t have a UVP, now is the time to create one. Your UVP tells prospective customers why they should buy from you instead of your competition. Even though fabricating every countertop requires templating (or a blueprint), fabrication and installation, your business still has characteristics that are different from your competition. Some of these are how well you execute your work, your level of customer service,

and the company pays for the next hour. This means the employee essentially gets paid ½ time for the hours they help a nonprofit. you been wanting to straighten up the

If you are struggling to craft a UVP or to define a

shop and organize your tooling? Have

solid marketing strategy, get professional

you wanted to visit other shops in the

help. While this will cost some money,

organizations you belong to so you

it won’t cost nearly as much as your

can see what everyone else is doing?

mistakes will.

Or better yet – send some of your key people on those visits? Safety is a topic

Improve Processes

that is getting more and more visibility

Sooner or later, we know the business

the market segments in which you

cycle will come back around to growth.

specialize, any additional services you

When that happens, you will need all

offer and more. The key is to craft a

the good employees you can find. If you

simple but compelling UVP.

lay off good employees now or if you cut

each day. This would be a great time to conduct your own safety training and conduct some self-audits. Bring on New Product Lines

Pro tip: A strong UVP rarely

hours and some good employees leave,

Are you getting more requests for

includes a low-price component. If

you will have to compete with everyone

porcelain but have struggled with this

it is compelling enough, your UVP

else who is hiring when the economy

material in the past? Now’s your chance

will reduce the pricing pressure that


to get some solid training and start

If you don’t want to lose your good

building and improving your procedures

people now only to have to replace them

for those materials. Your consumables

in a few months or a year, consider

supplier can help you with getting the

your UVP is the key to keeping your

putting them to work improving your

right tooling. The International Surface

sales volume up while everyone else

processes. If you have been struggling to

Fabricators Association can provide

is slowing down. A solid strategy

find time and resources to work on your

the hands-on technical training you

would include social media and an

business processes, this could be your

and your team need for a number

email campaign along with traditional

golden opportunity.

of materials including solid surface,

normally comes with an economic downturn. A marketing strategy that leverages

marketing methods. This strategy could also include

porcelain, sintered stone and ultra-

Have you been thinking about

compact materials.

implementing a different software

Further, increased pricing pressure

encouraging your team to invest

package? This could be the time to tackle

time working with local nonprofit

that project. Have you been wanting

is common during a downturn. Rather

organizations. A great way to do this

to build out your training program so

than reducing pricing on your main

is to provide a “paid match” for this

you can finally grow your own in-house

bread-and-butter products, consider

volunteer time. A typical plan would be

experts? Now is the time to do it. Have

taking on some lower-priced product International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 17

EDUCATION CONNECTION lines. This will give your customers an array of options to meet their budget requirements without hurting your primary business. Enhance Your Customer Experience Chances are that while reviewing or developing your UVP, you have assessed your current level of customer service. This would be a great time to consider upgrading the overall experience of your customers. How long does it take to generate a quote? How can you improve the speed of following up on initial customer inquiries? What can you do that your competition is not willing to do? Is this the time to experiment with in-home sales? Is this the time to work

on shortening your template-to-install lead time? Maybe now is the time to consider offering annual countertop inspections and sealing services. Raising the bar on your customer experience can put a lot of pressure on your competitors — yet another way to gain market share. For a business to grow profitably, key people must spend a large portion of their time working ON the business as opposed to working IN the business. While the uncertainty can be a bit scary, an economic downturn can present the ideal opportunity to work ON your business. Companies that execute well on these items will create a strong competitive advantage that will pay off handsomely — both now and also when A the economy rebounds. C










2 V


Ed Young is the owner of Fabricator’s Business Coach, a consulting firm designed to strengthen and elevate fabrication shops of all sizes. A former shop manager, Ed fully understands the challenges of today’s professionals. He has consulted with a range of businesses, from one-person startups to international Fortune 100 corporations, covering a broad array of products and processes. As a result, Ed knows that each business needs an appropriate structure for its unique situation. To learn more about how Fabricator’s Business Coach can take your shop to the next level, visit or reach Ed directly at


18 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 19


How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Visitors By Stephen Alberts, Countertop Marketing Co.

In today’s digital age, the mobile device has become an essential tool for people worldwide. From online shopping

• 96% of Facebook users access the platform via the app on their mobile devices. (Source: Google)

to searching for local services, the mobile phone is the go-to

Given these statistics, it’s evident that mobile devices have

device for countless daily tasks. As a countertop shop owner,

become an integral part of consumers’ lives. To thrive in this

this shift in consumer behavior presents a unique opportunity

landscape, shops must optimize their online presence for

to connect with your target audience through their mobile

mobile users.

devices. Now more than ever, it’s crucial that your website is configured to deliver the best experience for mobile users. The Mobile Revolution The rise of mobile devices as the primary gateway to the internet has brought about a seismic shift in the way businesses reach their customers. Consider these eye-opening statistics: • Up to 70% of web traffic now occurs on mobile devices, according to CIODive. • The World Advertising Research Center predicts that by 2025, 75% of users will access the internet using a mobile device. • Smart Insights claims that more than one-quarter of all emails are opened on smartphones. • Approximately 40% of mobile users search for local businesses, often including the phrase “near me.” (Source: Aumcore) • A well-optimized mobile website can lead to a more positive opinion about your business, with 61% of users holding this view. (Source: Smart Insights)

Mobile-Optimized Websites The foundation of any successful mobile marketing strategy is a mobile-optimized website. Before diving into the world of mobile marketing, it’s crucial to assess your website’s mobile compatibility. Here’s how to get started: First, check your competitors. Identify your closest competitors and assess whether they have mobile-optimized websites. A quick visit to their site on your mobile phone can provide valuable insights. Next, evaluate the user experience. Evaluate the mobile user experience on your competitors’ websites by checking out the site on your mobile device. Did their sites load quickly? Were key information and contact details easily accessible? Was the site optimized for mobile screens? If so, they have invested in catering to mobile users. Now, turn the spotlight on your website. If it doesn’t provide a seamless mobile experience, you might be losing potential countertop projects. Analyzing Your Mobile Status To compete effectively, you must thoroughly analyze your

• According to Google, 57% of users claim they wouldn’t

mobile status. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses

recommend a company if its mobile website design is poor.

in mobile marketing is critical for future success. Here are

• More than half of all e-commerce sales are done via

some essential questions to consider:

mobile devices. (Source: 99firms)

• Mobile website usability: Is your mobile website user-

• According to a report from Hitwise, nearly 60% of all

friendly? Does it load within seconds and provide the

online searches are now carried out on a mobile device, with

necessary information consumers seek while on the go?

some sectors reaching 72%.

• Search engine visibility: Does your mobile website rank

20 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

EDUCATION CONNECTION well on mobile search engines when local consumers search for relevant terms on their mobile devices? • QR code implementation: Are you using QR codes to increase awareness about your business? Are these codes prominently displayed on your marketing materials, directing traffic to your mobile website? By addressing these questions, you can pinpoint areas for improvement and develop a targeted mobile marketing strategy. Spy on Your Mobile Marketing Competitors To gain an edge in mobile marketing, it’s essential to understand what your competitors are doing. Fortunately, spying on your competitors’ mobile marketing initiatives is straightforward. Start by visiting your competitors’ mobile websites on your smartphone. Explore their sites, noting design, features and user flow. While the goal isn’t to copy their strategies, you can gather valuable insights for your mobile website. Check if your competitors use QR codes to generate interest in their business. Scan these codes with your mobile phone to uncover their purpose and the incentives they offer. Remember, the information you gather should inform your mobile marketing strategy positively and ethically. Make Customers Call Your Business with Mobile Marketing To outperform your competitors, use mobile marketing to make your countertop company more appealing to your target audience. Here are some effective strategies:

• Ensure your website is mobilefriendly, loads quickly, and offers essential information that mobile users seek. User experience is paramount. • Embrace digital engagement: Stay

Stephen Alberts is the owner of the Countertop Marketing Co. and STONE ENGAGE. They specialize in helping countertop companies grow the retail side of their business outside of wordof-mouth and referrals. They also offer software to help you engage more with customers and close more countertop projects. To learn more, visit www. or You can also email Stephen at steve@

active on social media platforms and maintain an easily accessible online presence via mobile devices. Implement QR codes to engage local consumers and provide instant gratification. • Implement mobile SEO techniques to attract qualified traffic to your website. Mobile users constantly search for local products and services on the go, so ensure your business


ranks well in mobile search results. Finding Your Business Basics For potential customers searching for

The world of online marketing can be confusing, but when done correctly, it can completely change your countertop company. This article is adapted from chapter 8 of Stephen’s book, The Complete Guide to Internet Marketing for Countertop Shops. To learn more about how you can up your online game, get a free copy of the book at book/.

countertops, having basic information readily available on your website is crucial. Users in the research phase typically want to know who you are, your location and how to request an estimate. Ensure your website caters to these needs. Mobile optimization is no longer a luxury but a necessity in today’s business landscape. As consumers increasingly turn to mobile devices, businesses must adapt to remain competitive. By assessing your mobile status, studying competitors, and implementing effective mobile marketing strategies, you can make your countertop business more appealing to local consumers, drive inbound calls and stay ahead in the mobile marketing game. Embrace the mobile revolution, and watch your business thrive in the digital age. C










International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 21

Financing Sustainability: Unlocking Growth Opportunities in Your Business By Ambro Blackwell

The countertop fabrication and remodeling industries are increasingly influenced by consumer demand for sustainability. However, achieving a green transformation can require a significant investment, often posing a challenge for many small business owners. Fortunately, financial solutions are available to propel these businesses toward a more sustainable and lucrative future. The Business Case for Sustainability

In today’s market, the appeal of sustainability extends far beyond the eco-conscious consumer. Homeowners are interested not only in beautiful aesthetics, but they are also looking for long-lasting, environmentally friendly options. Sustainable practices are no longer just nice-to-haves but have become compelling selling points that can set a business apart in a crowded marketplace. Embracing sustainability in your business can unlock a few opportunities.

gains; energy-efficient equipment and waste reduction can lead to significant operational savings over time. The third play here is toward the consumer. Your customers are more likely to return to and recommend businesses that share their values. This organic, word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to gain market share. Financing the Sustainability Dream Achieving sustainability is often hindered by the upfront costs of new equipment, materials and technologies. Small business loans can bridge the gap, enabling shops and studios to finance their green transition. While borrowing money entails interest payments and requires sound financial planning, the return on investment (ROI) for sustainable initiatives can potentially justify the expenditure. Consulting with a certified public accountant will help you understand your options. There are a few types of financing available.

For one, it can set you apart from your competition. This brand differentiation can serve as a unique selling proposition (USP) that makes your business stand out. Standing out is a potential point of leverage for your business. In addition, you can realize long-term financial 22 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

businesses. This is an option that many small business owners often overlook. • Specialized green loans: Some lenders focus on eco-friendly business practices, offering terms tailored to these initiatives. Investing in Sustainable

Equipment and Infrastructure Modern machinery typically offers higher efficiency rates with lower energy usage, effectively reducing a business’s carbon footprint. Coupled with this are the long-term savings in energy bills, which can offset the loan’s interest payments. A few simple examples include: • Digital cutting machinery: These precision machines can help reduce waste and speed up the fabrication process, enabling you to take on more jobs. • Energy-efficient lighting and temperature controls: Financing the installation of energy-efficient systems

• Traditional bank loans: These often require a strong credit history but usually offer the most favorable interest rates.

can lead to long-term energy and cost

• Government loans and grants: Federal and state programs may offer financial incentives for sustainable

drastically reduce energy costs and

savings. • Solar energy: While costly upfront in some cases, solar panels can even become an income source if excess energy is sold back to the grid.

Bulk Purchasing of Sustainable Materials

Buying materials like recycled glass, reclaimed wood, or low-VOC adhesives and finishes in bulk can be cost-effective but requires significant initial investment. A small business loan can enable this form of purchasing, with the cost savings realized over time to counterbalance the loan interest. Keep in mind that there is the possibility that your tax adviser might treat the interest paid on the small business loan as a tax

is to let the world know. An effective marketing campaign focused on the company’s green initiatives can attract attention and bring in clients. From website redesign to online advertising, these strategies often require capital, another area where small business loans can be instrumental. Some of the largest companies and organizations today place a tremendous amount of focus and capital into improving their marketing and keeping their branding in line with who they are as a company or



Funding Research and

Risks and Considerations


Sustainability in design is a rapidly

Ambro Blackwell, vice president and senior business banking relationship manager at JP Morgan Chase, is the bestselling author of Small Business Loans Made Simple. He is a certified treasury professional, according to the Association of Financial Professionals, and he helps business owners and decision-makers properly manage cash flow and obtain commercial financing. For more information, visit his website at

be sure that the ROI of the sustainable

evolving field. To stay competitive,

initiatives justifies the loan amount and

businesses can invest in research

interest rates. Having a conversation with

and development (R&D) to explore

your bank representative and tax adviser

innovative materials or fabrication

is instrumental. Be aware of the loan

processes. Financing this R&D can

terms and fees, including interest rates

provide a competitive edge and

and repayment schedules. Keep abreast

potentially unlock new revenue streams.

of changing regulations in both lending

Staff Training and Certifications Being recognized as a sustainable business isn’t just about materials and

complications. Consulting with your attorney or legal counsel should help you stay on top of these changes. Embracing sustainability offers

Training staff in sustainable practices

more than just environmental benefits;

and obtaining relevant certifications can

it opens avenues for business growth

boost employee morale and self-worth

and differentiation. Through strategic

and significantly bolster a business’s

small business lending, these enterprises

credibility. Loans can help cover these

can invest in a more sustainable future,

educational investments, which can

attracting new customer segments

attract a premium clientele willing to pay

and potentially increasing long-term

for this specialized service.

profitability. With financial barriers

Once a business has implemented sustainable practices, the next step

when it comes to financing? Want to lessen the personal risks of that entrepreneurial leap? Small Business Loans Made Simple is a straightforward roadmap for navigating the lending process. Deftly explained with his insider knowledge, professional tips and keen analysis, Blackwell breaks down technical aspects in accessible language. And by following his detailed guidelines, you’ll be able to win the financing your enterprise needs to move forward and prosper. Get the book at Small-Business-Loans-Made-Simple/ dp/1959605003.

and sustainable practices to avoid future

processes; it’s also about expertise.

Marketing and Branding

Is your big idea losing ground because you lack capital? Unsure where to start

When it comes to financial planning,

removed, the path toward a green and prosperous future becomes a journey often worth embarking upon. C










International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 23



2 V

Sustain Your Sales: How to Make Sure Your Top Customers Stay Your Top Customers By Tim Saddoris, Grand Onyx

I don’t want to be an alarmist, but the warning signs of a potential recession are all around us. While we all hope it

dependability and communication. If either is lacking, customers have a reason to look elsewhere.

doesn’t come to pass (some are saying it won’t), you need to be

Look at things from their point of view. For example,

proactive just in case. Building a sustainable business model

a builder managing several homes might be coordinating

before any downturn happens is the smart play. If an economic

several dozen contractors and scheduling all of them on

downturn does occur, you’ll be better prepared. If not, you’ll

tight timetables to meet deadlines. So, if they’ve scheduled a

have taken steps to solidify your business. So what should you

plumber on a Tuesday, the countertops had better be there on

do to prepare? Get closer to your clients right now.

a Monday. Dependability is crucial. If you told them 30 days

Start Getting Sticky

it better be. If you miss the install date, you can easily create a

For most stone fabricators, the most significant revenue source comes from wholesale clients, builders, kitchen and bath, etc. So, you want to look at your client base and categorize them into tiers. Figure out your best grouping of clients and start getting sticky. Have you ever tried to super-glue something and get some on your fingers? Even after scrubbing off the residue, you might still be picking at it for days. It’s a constant reminder of the job you did. You want to be that sticky with your clients — constantly reminding them of the value you bring. You want them to know you support them and value their business. However, it’s not just about your basic products or services. It’s about the things you do that make you invaluable to them. Dependability and Communication Your wholesale clients aren’t concerned only with price. They choose fabricators based on two important things: 24 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

ago that the countertop would be installed by a particular day, ripple effect that throws off the builder’s entire schedule. The second piece is communication. Let’s say a builder orders a specific slab of quartz and it’s coming from your supplier. You find out that the delivery from your supplier is running a few days behind. We all understand that things that are out of control can happen, but bad news never gets better with age. You need to know about any delays as soon as possible and communicate with your client. You may not always be perfect, but you can always communicate. And it’s a heck of a lot better to tell them two weeks in advance versus 48 hours. The more notice you give them, the better they can plan. Stick close to your top-tier clients and suppliers to keep those lines of communication open. Everybody has a schedule of when a quote is accepted. That starts a series of events to meet delivery and installation dates. From the time a quote is accepted to install, there might be dozens of interim steps before the job is complete. You need to map the interim steps and have a schedule to track

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 25

any potential bottlenecks. For example, are you always projecting 30 days from the coded date? Is it always 30 days? What is the probability that you’ll hit that 30-day mark? In other words, how accurate and predictable is your calendar?

happened to all of us. Customers don’t In many cases, they might be able to make a minor change in what they do, but it could solve a big problem for you. That’s a win.

If it’s not accurate at a highly predictable

always share when there’s an issue, and their problems may have nothing to do with you. But, it becomes your problem when they stop doing business with you. Find out what that issue is now and do something about it. That only happens

rate, you must identify what’s preventing it. If you can isolate

when you know your customer well and can have honest

where potential bottlenecks can occur and correct them, you

conversations. “How can I help?” may start the conversation,

can significantly increase your dependability with your clients,

but it requires talking about things beyond your business.

and that’s the kind of relationship you want — one where they

There are often problems you can help solve that a client

know they can depend on you and that you’re always going

would never think to bring up.

to deliver. And, if there are problems, you’ll let them know in plenty of time so they can adjust their plans before they become a crisis. How Can I Help? Those are powerful words but rarely spoken in business.

I’m a big fan of Dan Sullivan’s D.O.S. conversation strategy. D.O.S. stands for Dangers, Opportunities and Strengths. Dangers: Talk to your clients about what they fear. In other words, what are they afraid of losing? Are they afraid of moving backward? Opportunities: Learn what opportunities they are excited

Think about it for a moment. When was the last time a vendor

about — especially what they would regret if they could not

asked if they could help and really meant it? If they did — and

capture it.

it was genuine — think about how that would affect your relationship, especially if they could fix one of your problems. In many cases, they might be able to make a minor change in what they do, but it could solve a big problem for you. That’s a win.

Strengths: Find out what they are confident about and the strengths they’ve gained from previous experiences that they can maximize. These emotions – fear, excitement and confidence — become the raw materials for strengthening your relationship.

Even more importantly, when was the last time you went

I’ve been married for 15 years, and I’m still learning about my

to your best customers and asked, “How can I help you?” If

wife and what’s most important in our relationship. You know

you can do that and really listen, you can help them solve their

how it works; you often don’t find out about things until you

problems and find ways to grow their business — thereby


strengthening your relationship.

Such conversations can uncover hidden information a

Looking at your top-tier clients as a group, you’ll likely

client might never tell you otherwise, and you may have a way

find many of them have the same concerns. If you can dig into

to help. They may not know your capabilities or connections,

their pain points and offer a solution, you can use it across

so they’d never think to ask. Once you gain this knowledge,

multiple clients. If you do that, here’s what’s going to happen

however, you may be in a position to help. Maybe you have a

when the economy turns around: They’re going to remember that you were there to help, not just make a sale. At the same time, you will have new capabilities, so you’ll be better prepared to move forward with a stronger customer base. Complacency is the Enemy When things are going well, it’s easy to make assumptions. Orders come in. Invoices go out. Bills get paid. Things seem to be going fine, and suddenly, you lose a client. It’s 26 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

connection with a key vendor they’re trying to attract or can offer a different way to approach payment structures to free up capital so they can take on more jobs. There are all sorts of possibilities that may arise that you’d never know about otherwise. Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Roger Staubach said it best: “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” And, when things get tight, or business picks up, your clients will remember who was there to help and made an investment in them.

This strategy isn’t going to work with every client you have. I know because I’ve lost some clients over the years. What I learned is that the clients who do respond will create stronger relationships that can last well into the future. Those that don’t can free up your time to provide greater value to the clients you do have. Build Relationships and a Sustainable Business Fostering stronger relationships is critical to building a sustainable business. The economy will turn around and improve at some point. These strong relationships will serve you well with your clients when business is booming. In the meantime, getting sticky and finding ways to help before and during a recession can help keep clients doing business with you.

Tim Saddoris is the president of Grand Onyx. a firm dedicated to helping stone fabricators increase their revenue by 30% to 300% using proven techniques and a World Class Blueprint System to help you build a more profitable, scalable business. They help companies refine their sales process, uncover insights about better ways to sell, and coach sales teams for greater success. Learn how Grand Onyx can help your business grow at

Have a new product or service announcement? IFSA can help you get the word out!

Send press releases to: or visit for more information about our marketing channels.

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 27

Eco-Friendly Fabrication: Sustainable Products for Your Shop By Sarah Peiper

Sustainability is at the forefront of

through a series of hydrocyclones. Solids

Pledge, they’re NSF certified, UL certified

nearly every conversation around design

are collected in a sludge hopper and settling

as mold-resistant and do not contain BPA.

and remodeling, and you’re behind the

weir, both of which are lined with removable

A low-VOC material, Corian is free from

times if you aren’t considering integrating

bags for easy disposal. The filtered water

dangerous chemicals, which supports better

sustainability in your business. The

enters a holding tank before a horizontal

indoor air quality. The Corian Design

betterment of our communities and the

pump delivers the water back to the shop at

portfolio allows for beautiful and safe

health of our environment depend on every

75 psi. Additional features can be added to

interiors with sustainability as a top priority.

business, no matter how big or how small,

the PURE System. Learn more at

To learn more, visit

taking responsibility for how they work and

contributing to a better planet. There are all kinds of materials, tools and solutions for the decorative surfacing industry that

Corian Design ­— A Responsible

Durasein Solid Surface


can help you embrace sustainable products and practices. Here are 15 innovations to consider for your shop. BACA Systems’ PURE Water Filtration System

Diamond is Durasein’s newest addition to their marble-inspired Dreamy Collection. Corian Design offers a wide portfolio

From unique color blends to mesmerizing

of beautiful, on-trend designs that are

visual textures, Durasein patterns are

harmonious with human health and the

magically crafted with the help of their

environment. The company is innovating

proprietary robotic color dispensing tech

to reduce waste and incorporate post-

to create a surfacing product that provides

consumer and post-industrial recycled

both elegance and performance.

content. The Corian Solid Surface portfolio

From air quality to food safety,

PURE is a water filtration system that

includes a variety of high-recycled

Durasein is engineered to maintain a

removes stone particulate, so gray water can

content aesthetics, including the new

safer environment for human health.

be recycled and reused in cutting. PURE

Terrians collection. Corian Endura High

With concerns that prolonged exposure

Systems are available in varying sizes to

Performance Porcelain is made from 100%

to nanoparticles may lead to health issues,

meet the shop’s needs, filtering from 80 gpm

natural minerals and clays. The North

it’s also reassuring to know that Durasein

to 320 gpm.

American manufacturing facilities are zero

solid surfaces are free from nanoparticles.

waste, and electricity comes from renewable

With zero emissions, Durasein’s material

energy sources.

and the cured adhesive used in installation

The PURE System pumps dirty water from a collection pit by a heavy-duty, sealless pump to a centrifugal separator, where

Corian surfaces are GREENGUARD

are 100% free of formaldehyde and volatile

solids are filtered to 40 micron. The water is

Gold certified and contribute toward LEED

organic compound emissions. In addition

further filtered to approximately 10 micron

points. In alignment with the AIA Materials


28 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

Indoor Air Quality, HPD and REACH certifications, Durasein surfaces are also NSF-51 certified to ensure that they are safe for food equipment and food contact. Durasein’s solid surfaces have also been tested to meet and/or exceed the requirements for industry standards, including ASTM, ANSI, UL and NEMA. It’s undergone strict stain and chemical resistance testing in accordance with CSA B45.5-17/IAPMO Z124-2017, and EN ISO 16000-9 testing to show that there are no traces of harmful substances in the products. Learn more at

EGGER’s Thermally Fused Laminate EGGER’s thermally fused laminate

pieces of recycled metal within. The result

thanks to their ability to store carbon, the renewable resources used as a raw material to manufacture them. According to the Composite Panel Association, composite wood panels store as much or more carbon than is released during the manufacturing process, making them carbon negative or carbon neutral.

copper speckling the surface. All elementAl

EGGER values wood as a natural resource and is committed to optimizing its

furniture, in addition to traditional vertical and horizontal surfacing applications. For more information visit

with the intention of being reused and


recycled. Durat consists of up to 28%

but is also made in the USA. The company also recently invested in an Environmental Product Declaration, which is available to the public. One of the most amazing aspects of Durat is the nearly endless color

York, where it is made to order, allowing for backlighting, thermoforming and

concept of circularity, designing material

program. The material originated in Finland

sheets are manufactured in Buffalo, New for customization. The material is great

impact on the environment through the

end of its life through Durat’s takeback

is a dazzling assortment of silver, gold and

and the circular production processes used

Durat has always strived to limit their

waste stream and is 100% recyclable at the

heavy collection features similar colors of semi-translucent acrylic with flecks and

(TFL) panels are naturally sustainable

Durat Sustainable Solid Surface

recycled hard plastics diverted from the

gray to bright yellow and lime green. The

use. Particleboard and TFL panels produced

GEOS Recycled Glass Surfaces

at the company’s Lexington, North Carolina, plant are made primarily using what would otherwise be considered waste or recovered wood — wood chips left over from other milling and manufacturing processes. About 70% of the wood in EGGER’s composite panels comes from these sources. With the addition of a brand-new on-site wood recycling center, these boards will also now be produced with up to 20% post-consumer recycled wood material. See all of what

With a carefully chosen terrazzo-style mix of pre- and post-consumer recycled glass, GEOS is a unique surface of superior strength and remarkable beauty. GEOS is a

EGGER has to offer at

nonporous, durable recycled glass surface that performs, fabricates and installs like

elementAl Recycled Solid Surface

engineered stone or terrazzo. Combined

elementAl is a unique solid surface

with proprietary resin binders, GEOS

choices available. Durat is not only a more

material made of recycled hard plastics from

Recycled Glass Surfaces do not require

sustainable choice but is also easy to work

the post-industrial waste stream. There

sealing. GEOS Surfaces are available in

with, maintainable and nonporous. For

are two styles of surface: light and heavy.

several unique color combinations and are

more information about Durat or to request

The light collection is made up of semi-

suitable for both commercial and residential

a sample, visit

translucent colors ranging from traditional

applications looking for a terrazzo (continued on page 32)

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 29

The Opimo Collection by HanStone Quartz, Matterhorn

Sustainable Innovations That Meet Consumer Demand By Brian Kang & Sylvia Yoo A recent study found that countertops are the first

alongside the aesthetic allure, quartzites come with inherent

feature homeowners upgrade during kitchen renovations.

drawbacks such as high costs, demanding maintenance

Approximately 42% of homeowners undertake kitchen

requirements, and limitations in chemical resistance and

renovations for a complete style change, and 29% do so to

fabrication complexity.

enhance the resale value of their homes. These statistics clearly

But what if capturing the essence of quartzites while

indicate a market demand for innovative and irresistibly

addressing these downsides was possible? HanStone Quartz,

attractive designs. In recent years, the quartz trend has

for example, has pushed the boundaries of design to introduce

centered around mimicking Calacatta designs, but today’s

the Opimo Collection, a line that captures the allure and

consumers are yearning for something fresh and exciting.

sophistication associated with quartzite while meeting the

Material manufacturers across the globe are answering the call

durability, chemical resistance, and ease of maintenance that

by innovating extraordinary designs that stand the test of time.

quartz is renowned for.

Best of Both Worlds When it comes to surface materials, the beauty of natural stones, especially quartzites, is hard to beat. However, 30 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

This remarkable collection is an outcome of HanStone’s unwavering commitment to innovation, being the first quartzite-looking quartz created leveraging the latest Italian technology. With the implementation of this cutting-edge

technology with the premium material, the Opimo Collection achieves a new level of depth and translucency that has never been seen in quartz surfacing, ensuring a lasting impression. Similarly, no two Opimo slabs are exactly alike, just like the natural quartzites. Each slab showcases slight color variations and translucency, faithfully mirroring the captivating beauty of quartzites. Every detail of the collection has been carefully considered to deliver an authentic quartzite experience. Step Toward Sustainability The benefits of this technological breakthrough extend beyond design alone. Taking into consideration a heightened awareness of ecological impacts and far-reaching consequences on the environment, sustainability has become a focal point in many decision-making processes. Concurrently, an increased understanding of health-related concerns prompts manufacturers to evaluate the potential impacts of countertop materials on fabricators’ well-being. Countertops free of harmful chemicals not only establish a safer environment for food preparation but also contribute to the overall well-being of those living in the household. The shift toward sustainable countertops is more than a trend; it

embodies a conscious commitment to reducing the impact on the planet. Manufacturers like HanStone Quartz have responded to this call by embracing eco-friendly practices and innovative approaches to countertop creation. The production of the Opimo Collection is optimized to reduce energy and material consumption, epitomizing the dedication to sustainability and responsible manufacturing. HanStone’s investment of approximately $4.6 million in solar panels was strategically placed throughout its Sejong facility in Korea. Through the use of these panels, a notable annual reduction of 686.2 tons in CO2 emissions was realized, coupled with a concurrent 15% reduction in electricity consumption. In a world where our choices increasingly impact the environment and overall well-being, HanStone Quartz’s Opimo Collection is a terrific example of forward-thinking innovation and stands as a beacon of progress and possibility. It embodies what discerning homeowners have longed for — the perfect blend of beauty, modern convenience, and steadfast commitment to a sustainable future. To see the entire Opimo Collection, please visit C









The Opimo Collection by HanStone Quartz: Patagonia

The Opimo Collection by HanStone Quartz, Elba White

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 31

countertop look and a sustainable story.

can be fabricated by

Hanex is deeply committed to eco-

For samples or more information visit

both stone and glass

friendliness, influencing everything from its

fabricators. Since it is

composition to production practices. To learn

all glass, it is a great

more about the sustainability of Hanex, visit

material for creating

backlighting effects.


glass2 allows you to


Gilasi Recycled Glass Surfaces Gilasi is an innovative surfacing manufacturer located in Chicago. The surfaces are made of recycled glass and epoxy resin and were carefully engineered for superior performance. Gilasi is unique in that much of the glass in their material is sourced locally from industrial waste streams in and around Chicago. The company strives to do their best for the environment by purchasing carbon offsets for all its production energy consumption

create a stunning visual experience and tell a sustainable story with countertops, columns or cladding. For samples or more information visit Hanex Solid Surfaces by

Hyundai L&C USA: Eco-Friendly Manufacturing Process

HydroClear Pro by Park Industries = Big Time Savings

Reduce your water consumption by over 90% and be an environmental steward with the new HydroClear Pro Water Recycling System from Park Industries. This system manages high water demands by recycling water at a sustained flow of 325 gallons per minute.

and employee commuting. Gilasi offers

In interior design, sustainability is crucial

two standard lines of nonporous solid

in making spaces aesthetically pleasing and

surface: one with large glass aggregate that

practical. With growing environmental

unique systems to minimize operational costs

creates a terrazzo aesthetic, and one with

awareness, Hanex Solid Surfaces continues

and increase efficiencies, including:

very tiny glass aggregate that creates a

its journey toward sustainability and an eco-

• Mechanical Pit Stir system to eliminate

monochromatic look. In addition to the 20

friendly manufacturing process. Through a

the need to clean out the pit.

keen focus on waste reduction and efficiency,

• Automated chemical dosing system for

production practices ensure minimal wastage. Moreover, 100% recycled waterbased manufacturing processes are in place, allowing Hanex to refrain from releasing harmful volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere. standard colors, Gilasi can create custom recycled glass surfaces, allowing customers to specify the colors and sizes of glass used. For samples or more information visit glass2 Recycled Glass Surfaces glass2 was engineered to be nearly 100%

The company’s sustainability journey continues with a focus on transportation. Hanex strategically minimizes transportation distances between various production stages. By sourcing materials and manufacturing products closer to each other, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions associated with long-distance transportation are significantly reduced.

recycled glass while remaining durable and easy to fabricate. The resulting surface is made of 99% recycled glass fused together, requiring no resins or binders. It is suitable for interior and exterior applications for both residential and commercial use. It 32 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

The HydroClear Pro offers a variety of

easy management. • VFD-driven slurry pumps to provide increased performance, longevity and water quality. Here’s what one fabricator had to say about the system: “We love the ability to recycle and know where our water is going. We’ve saved millions of gallons of water with the HydroClear Pro and cut our water bill in half.” Park Industries offers seven unique HydroClear Pro systems to meet your needs. Learn more at water-systems/hydroclear-400.

a great choice for homes, restaurants,

Lapitec Silica-Free Surfacing

office buildings and education facilities.

As a company, Lapitec is committed to

All PaperStone material is manufactured

sustainability and quality. They remain at

in Hoquiam, Washington, making it

the forefront of innovation in surfacing.

a great local resource for projects in

As the only true sintered stone, Lapitec has

the United States. Learn more about

created a truly phenomenal product using a

PaperStone’s product options at www.

proprietary mix of minerals that eliminates

the need for crystalline silica. The Italian facility where all Lapitec is made is covered in solar panels to supply energy for the production process. The company has taken action toward product transparency by investing in a life cycle analysis and Environmental Product Declaration. Sintered stone is 100% natural by design, incredibly durable and versatile. It can be used indoors or outdoors

your company’s overall carbon footprint

Silestone by Cosentino

by minimizing the need to travel back and forth between job sites and the shop, and by emailing files back to the shop or uploading files to cloud storage. You can downsize to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars with the compact nature of the LT-2D3D and eliminate large physical templates, supplies and tools. To learn more about the LT-2D3D Laser Templator and its environmental benefits,

HybriQ+ Technology for the

please visit

manufacturing of Silestone is a true

PaperStone Recycled Paper

sustainability and taking care of the present


as it is highly heat- and stain-resistant.

testament to Cosentino’s commitment to to protect the future. HybriQ+ Technology is a high-performance blend of premium minerals, quartz and recycled materials

Learn more about Lapitec’s products and

produced with 100% renewable electric

commitment to the environment by visiting

energy and 99% recycled water. HybriQ+

is the result of four years of research and development, and it represents a $12+

LT-2D3D by Laser Products

million investment and 1,200 hours of

Industries (LPI)

laboratory and facility testing.

Practice sustainability by going digital

“At Cosentino, I believe we must strive

with the LT-2D3D from LPI. Eliminate

to uphold our core values of innovation

waste from used wood, paper, or plastic

and sustainability with each product we put

templates and go paperless by creating digital template files. Did you know that many wood templates cannot be recycled due to glue and adhesives? Get more usage out of slabs with the accuracy of digital

PaperStone is exactly what it sounds

forward,” said Valentin Tijeras, product,

like: stone made of paper. This incredible

innovation and quality vice president at

material takes recycled paper materials,

Cosentino. “We’re proud to be able to

soaks them in proprietary phenolic resins

continue to manufacture our Silestone

and presses them into durable stonelike

collections sustainably.”

templating and nesting capabilities to reduce

sheets. The sheets are highly durable

landfill waste and prevent costly reworks

and easy to cut and shape. PaperStone

industry, propelling us toward a more

and in-field modifications.

is a favorite because it can be handled as

sustainable future. Learn more at

With a digital templator, you can

easily as wood. PaperStone offers a warm

reduce gas consumption, emissions and

alternative to stone and quartz, and is


Silestone sets a new standard for the

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 33


Safeguarding Sustainability By Jessica McNaughton and Paul “Max” Le Pera

In this installment of the

safeguarding your employees.

exposure to hazardous procedures. In

Sustainability Matters series, we

Within the confines of your facility,

addition, let’s not overlook the fact that

arrive at a topic argued to be one of

equipment must be safe to operate while

safer, happier employees are typically

the most crucial aspects of our work

sufficiently capable of carrying out

more productive.

in the fabrication industry: safety.

the necessary tasks securely. Forklifts,

Although it may appear disconnected

overhead cranes, carts and appropriate

from sustainability, it is critical.

tooling are indispensable for minimizing

Safety transcends routine practices

the physical strain on your employees.

and accident prevention and extends

Safety equipment, including hard

its influence through procurement

hats, gloves and other protective gear

processes — even delving into the

— notably respirators and masks for

components of materials. Without the

those exposed to airborne particles,

implementation of comprehensive safety

discussed further below — are widely

measures, not only do you jeopardize

recognized as essential tools. Continuous

the success of your business, but, more

from the manufacturing process to

and fundamental training on proper

importantly, you endanger the well-

installation. This ubiquitous material is

equipment operation is imperative to

being of your workforce. Sustainability

found in an array of products, including

uphold safety standards.

concrete, masonry and luxury quartzites,

means safeguarding the planet and its

Equipment continually evolves,

The Problem with Silica Crystalline silica has taken a prominent position within the industry, becoming a focus of discussions, as industry associations and their partners are actively engaged in finding ways to effectively mitigate risk and impart knowledge regarding its inherent dangers,

where it presents hazards if not handled

inhabitants; hence, safety is a paramount

becoming safer, more efficient and


with care and appropriate equipment.

reducing downtime. For instance,

Endeavors to ban engineered stone

transitioning from propane forklifts to

have surfaced in Australia and the United

electric alternatives can enhance safety by

States, particularly in California’s Los

From the moment you acquired

eliminating employee exposure to indoor

Angeles County. While the installed

your workshop, secured your workspace

fumes. Sustainable energy systems such

material is generally safe for end users,

and procured equipment, the safety of

as solar and water recapture mechanisms

architects and designers are keen to

individuals occupying these areas and

are pivotal to minimizing your facility’s

ensure safety and sustainability from the

commanding these machines should

environmental impact.

initial extraction phase to the end of its

The Making of a Safe Facility

Some equipment manufacturers

have been a top priority. Ensuring the

useful life.

well-being of your employees necessitates

introduce safety features post-purchase.

establishing standard safety procedures,

Remaining vigilant about equipment

as well as its subsequent fabrication

proper storage for blades and tools,

changes and upgrades can boost your

and polishing, entails inherent risks.

protective personal equipment, eyewash

bottom line and enhance your employees’

Although guidelines and standards exist

stations and more. Equally vital is the

efficiency, potentially allowing you to

for proper management, recent audits

presence of certified forklift operators and

accomplish more with fewer resources.

have uncovered a concerning number

material handlers and the implementation

Improved equipment handling and

of companies failing to adhere to these

of sound packaging and storage practices

increased automation of equipment-


— all of which are instrumental in

related processes can curtail employee

34 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

The extraction of crystalline silica,

A steadfast commitment to safety

SUSTAINABILITY MATTERS necessitates establishing comprehensive

safety at many levels here and placed it as a

procedures and continuously implementing

significant pillar within the domain of holistic

educational and training programs. Given

sustainability, what survives now and poses

the rapid developments in sustainability and

the greatest stress on sustainable progress rests

safety measures — particularly regarding

in three main areas: leadership, culture and

crystalline silica abatement — companies must

commitment. Sustainability and employee safety

adopt a proactive stance rather than reacting

remain intrinsically linked in this evolving

to emerging challenges regarding equipment


enhancements and procedural improvements. Safety, symbolized by hard hats and orange vests, is intertwined with sustainability, and dismissing either in the current state of our industry would

For example, while the risk of silicosis is not new information to most fabricators, the prominent reactivity to the health hazard is. For safety to become a truly viable and effective

be unwise.

pillar of the sustainability paradigm, it must

The Innovation of Safer Materials

is more of a moral, ethical and human respect

Prominent industry leaders have begun introducing new materials that remedy the silica problem. Notably, Lapitec from Breton, a pioneer in quartz production, emerged as an alternative to quartz, primarily due to its reduced crystalline silica content. Breton revealed the development of its BioQuartz technology, a new process line for engineered stone without any crystalline silica. The pace of innovation continues with Cosentino’s HybriQ technology, which has significantly reduced silica content in Silestone compositions, with the goal of reaching zero. Lapitec has transitioned its entire sintered stone production to be silica-free, while Caesarstone publicly expressed its intent to meet a crystalline silica content threshold of 40% or less. Subsequently, Cosentino’s Dekton and Neolith and several other companies have introduced lower silica options for quartz countertops, including sintered and porcelain materials. More manufacturers are likely to follow suit. The Future of Sustainability Through Safety

As we breached this rather large topic of 36 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

Jessica McNaughton serves as president at CaraGreen, a provider of sustainable building materials, including many alternative surfacing materials. She has 20 years’ experience in sales, marketing, business development and strategy. Previously the director of sales and marketing at CaraGreen, Jessica has maintained her status as a LEED Accredited Professional since 2009 and she hosts a podcast, Build Green Live Green. She can be reached at jessica@

be championed — proactively. Although this issue, let’s address the elephant here quickly: Safety is not an expense; it is an investment. That said, as a company systematically prioritizes safety and sustainability, the goal is to protect those who are contributing to your business’s success — those who put their futures at stake for your profits. They have every right to expect their safety to be taken seriously and championed. With leadership setting a high bar through intentional investment and demonstrated actions, we begin to see the development of a company culture around safety.

Paul “Max” Le Pera is the president and founder of Proprietary Ventures, LLC, a boutique-style global firm devoted to researching, discovering and deploying disruptive and sustainably oriented proprietary products and technologies. He serves on the ISFA board of directors as vice president of standards. He can be reached at paul.l@

Any positive investment into company culture will profoundly affect productivity and loyalty — a powerful synergy. Safety starts at the top. It must be embraced as a core value to yield its efficacy. Fabrication company owners and managers have a decision to make every morning: “Are my people safe, and if not, where are the vulnerabilities?” Safety is something that is never too late to embrace, improve and champion. Investing in safety is a deep-rooted pillar of servant leadership, and the more that is invested in people and safety culture, the more fluid and sustainable the operation can be. Again, safety is not an expense; it is a wise and necessary investment. C










International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 37


ISFA Fabricator Profile: Redemption Stone Craft By Sarah Peiper Bobby Finn has worked in the construction and remodeling industry for almost 25 years. He got his start as an installer, fabricator and salesperson at some of the biggest fabrication shops in the country. He spent the last decade or so helping struggling companies become profitable. Now, he owns Redemption Stone Craft, a business he started from scratch in 2022. “After a while, I decided to stop working for someone else and open a shop,” recalled Bobby. “I guess I wanted some redemption for all the hard work I put into making others successful. Now I’m doing something for myself; it’s been a wild ride.” Located about 30 minutes north of Detroit in Clinton Township, Michigan, Redemption Stone Craft is a fully automated shop that thrives on technology, thoughtful planning, streamlined processes and superior customer service. Built from the Ground Up “I have a 10,000-square-foot shop space,” he explained. “In just under 45 days, I put this shop together. Everything from staff, machinery, suppliers — you name it.” Previously in his career, Bobby connected with Ed Hill, an expert in Synchronized Flow, a concept that looks at the entire business as one system of separate but dependent

events. “That chain of events, when mapped from beginning to end,” explained Ed, “shows that the capacity of the entire chain is limited by only one process step, that being the weakest link in the chain — also known as the business system’s constraint. Anything that the business does to increase the capacity and productivity of that constraint strengthens the entire chain and makes the business more productive.” It’s based on the theory of constraints, which is best described in the book The Goal by Dr. Eliyahu Goldratt. Bobby used some of this logic to develop his workflow. “You have to identify the steps in your production process and understand what your people are doing in each department,” he said. “That is the challenge. Without some kind of system, the only way you can know what everyone is doing is to sit in a room and watch, and that’s just not possible or productive.” In the Shop Bobby leans on technology to arm the shop with tools that help them run lean and mean. They use StoneApp by StoneGrid, an all-in-one enterprise resource planning software that automates sales, marketing, customer

38 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

Bobby Finn is the owner of Redemption Stone Craft in Clinton Township, Michigan, a business he started from scratch in 2022.

Redemption Stone Craft focuses on specialty materials, including quartzite, marble, porcelain and ultra-compact surfaces like Dekton.

Redemption Stone Craft has a showroom that’s open six days a week. They typically have about 70 different slabs on display in the showroom.

service and more in one platform. “I created task triggers in StoneApp to monitor each part of the process. It creates a chain of events — one task


Redemption Stone Craft is operating a lot of equipment from BACA Systems, including the Miter X miter saw, a Robo SawJet 2.0 and the BACA Pure water filtration system.

completion triggers another. If the tasks don’t get completed, I can see where the

The benefits of working with multiple

break is and why we are behind. Now,

materials are simple, he explained.

I don’t have to be physically present in

“Profitability increases when you

every part of the business.” He can see it

successfully embrace specialty work — a

all in a dashboard in real-time. It created

custom world. It’s very different. If you’re

accountability in the processes; if he

known for being a shop that focuses

sees a breakdown, he can get ahead of

on custom work, including drop-down

it and make changes. And it establishes

waterfall legs, full-height fireplace

accountability among his team because

cladding and wet wall cladding using

they can all see where the breakdown is,

unique materials, then you can carve

and no one wants to be responsible for

out a niche and concentrate on those

a fail point. “We have these quick-start

kinds of projects without jamming in

meetings every morning, and if someone

hundreds of basic jobs.”

is behind, the last thing they want is to

On the flip side, Bobby admits a

have to admit it in front of the team. So

significant drawback when working

they don’t let it happen.”

with these materials is that you need to

Redemption Stone Craft operates

In addition to equipment by BACA Systems (top), Redemption Stone Craft uses a Comandulli Omega 100 polisher (bottom), cranes for material handling (middle), and Bobby likes the Flexijet 3D laser measuring system for templating.

that most fabricators won’t touch.”

understand the nuance of the material

with 10 employees covering a 100-

inside and out — you have to be an

mile radius. The company focuses on

expert, and that includes everyone

specialty materials, including quartzite,

on the team. “The tooling needed to

marble, porcelain and ultra-compact

fabricate these different materials varies,”

surfaces like Dekton. Bobby says they

he added. “You need to understand what

cruise through about 100 slabs per

blades and RPMs work best on each

month. “We work with a lot of materials

material while having special equipment

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 39

FABRICATOR PROFILE to move slabs safely.” Redemption Stone Craft is operating a lot of equipment from BACA Systems, including the Miter X miter saw, a Robo SawJet 2.0 and the BACA Pure water filtration system. They’re also using a Comandulli Omega 100 polisher, and Bobby likes the Flexijet 3D laser measuring system for templating. “Machinery can either be a game changer or a dealbreaker. You have to run the right equipment for the kind of

In the Marketplace Redemption Stone Craft doesn’t offer other services like cabinetry, flooring or plumbing. That’s a strategic move on Bobby’s part. “I like to stick with what I know and love; for me, that’s surface fabrication.” They target the residential sector by partnering with a few local builders and cabinet companies, including E.W. Kitchens, Cabinetry By Better Bilt, Kitchen Cabinet Value, Cabinet

showroom that’s open six days a week. They typically have about 70 different slabs on display in the showroom. A favorite material is a quartz line called New Symphony, made by Dwyer Marble and Stone. “It’s not throughbody, but it’s stronger than porcelain and cuts beautifully on the Robo SawJet. The miters come out amazing!” Natural stone, predominately quartzite, is another material that often moves through the shop. “A lot of our clients

Creations, Kitchen & Baths by Majestic,

are looking for quartzites, which drives

for us. And safety is important to me, so

and others. “We also work with

revenue because we charge more to

I’ve set up the shop in a way that keeps

Arteva Homes, PRM Custom Builders

fabricate it because it’s a more complex

our workers safe. We’re a dust-free shop

and Moceri, just to name a few.” In


— no dry cutting,” he added.

addition, Redemption Stone Craft has a

work you do, and this setup works well

“Safety is important to me, so I’ve set up the shop in a way that keeps our workers safe. We’re a dust-free shop — no dry cutting,” said Bobby.

40 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

Redemption Stone Craft is a word-

This fireplace is clad in porcelain, a material that requires extra care when fabricating.

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 2 • 41


This kitchen is finished in a 3 cm granite and features veining that flows in the same direction.

of-mouth company. “We don’t pay

name. “Growth has been steady —

lot of mistakes along the way,” admitted

for advertising, but we’re active on

exceeding my expectations, to be

Bobby. “But as long as you turn mistakes

Facebook. We get quite a few leads this

honest,” he said. “We are on pace to do

into learning opportunities, you’re

way, and having a Google Business

upward of $2 million this year, and I’m

heading in the right direction. I suppose

Profile has been super helpful for our

proud of how far we’ve come in just a

that’s what redemption, by definition,

brand and reputation. We have over

couple of years.”

is all about — the chance to come back

100 Google reviews averaging five stars.” In follow-up communications

Redeeming Qualities

to customers, they ask them to leave

Redemption’s mission is to provide

a review. Because the Redemption

efficient, cost-effective, and functional

team prioritizes excellent customer

countertop solutions and systems for

service, customers are almost always

its customers while adding value to any

happy to leave glowing reviews. “We

project, and this means consistently

build trusting relationships with our

exceeding expectations. Redemption

customers by educating them about

strives to be a leader in the industry,

what they are purchasing,” he explained.

maintaining trust and forming a

“We’re with them every step of the

partnership with its customers.

and do it right.” The team prides itself in how it serves its customers; sometimes, the customer is a fellow fabricator. “Not every shop has the experience or the equipment to handle specialty materials, so some fabricators will seek us out for help with some of their more complex jobs,” he explained. Staying Connected

way and beyond. We foster a personal

What sets Redemption Stone Craft

connection with everyone, so by the end

apart from other fabricators is a strong

to stay active in the industry. “It’s

of the project, they’re motivated to share

company culture and a team that

constantly evolving with new

their positive experience.”

comprises some of the best experience

technology and equipment,” he said.

in this business. “I have a lot of industry

“We attend The International Surface

knowledge, and of course, I’ve made a

Event (TISE) each year — StonExpo in

Bobby is thrilled to see Redemption Stone Craft develop into a household

42 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

For this fabricator, it’s imperative

FABRICATOR PROFILE Las Vegas — where all the fabricators, manufacturers and suppliers get together to learn about new products and network.” One of Bobby’s philosophies for success is to take care of the people around him — his staff. Last year, he took all his fabricators to the show. Some have been working for more than 10 years in this industry but have never been able to go to a trade show like TISE. It’s crucial for Bobby, as a business owner, to enable his team to grow and learn. He says the connections made at events like that can really make a difference. “The knowledge you learn from everyone — you can’t put a price tag on it.” Bobby maintains that you’re only as good as the people around you, and if you do right by your people, they will do right by you. “People don’t leave bad companies,” he mused. “They leave bad managers.” He’s a working business owner, and he’s right there next to his team when things get hard. Staying connected to the work helps him make better decisions for his business while building trust with his team. “There’s a lot of good information shared out there among fabricators. You can learn something new every day. I spent decades traveling the nation, connecting with other fabricators, and it’s part of why I am so successful today.”

Shown here is Symphony quartz called Sigfrid. The mitered edges show off the veining.

What’s Next Bobby has no intention of slowing down. “I had this dream, and I’m chasing it,” he admitted. Despite the sacrifices he’s made and the challenges he’s faced, there’s nothing better than the sweet smell of success. “It’s a tough business. You have to work harder than the next guy — reach higher. Many people doubted me, which only inspired me to take this further.” What’s next for Redemption Stone Craft? Bobby intends to take this as far as possible; he has his sights on expanding. “We have one location for now, but we are talking about opening a satellite shop in the Carolinas,” he said. “We have big dreams for Redemption Stone Craft.” C A B 2 V





To learn more about Redemption Stone Craft, visit



V This reception desk features quartzite in Fantasy Brown. The backlit logo

2 V

was fabricated using equipment from BACA Systems.

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 43

Master the Art of Choosing the Right Sink for Your Next Project by Tony Calvert, Karran Kitchen Sinks & Faucets

With such a wide array of kitchen sinks in today’s

include granite and quartz, the better ones of which have an

marketplace, it’s sometimes hard to decide which color works

80/20 stone-to-resin ratio, giving the sink an alluring look and

best and what materials are most suitable for your customers’

enduring finish.

style, size and design considerations. The sink is regarded

Fireclay and cast iron sinks have high thermal, scratch and

as the kitchen’s focal point and is one of the most frequently

stain resistance. They are popular for their durability and are

used fixtures in the home. They come in a variety of materials

used in many traditional kitchen designs. They are heavier and

and styles. Master the art of choosing the right sink for your

less shock-absorbent than other sink materials, and the finish

kitchen projects by understanding the options on the market

on these sinks can chip.

that reflect your clients’ tastes and needs.

Choosing the Right Installation

What’s in a Sink?

There are several different types of sink installations, and

The most popular kitchen sink materials include stainless

this could determine which sink your customer chooses.

steel, composite (granite or quartz), cast iron and fireclay. Each

Without going into much detail about how to install sinks,

material has its own characteristics, and this should help in the

here’s an encapsulation of what you need to know about each

decision-making process.

type of available installation.

Stainless steel is sturdy yet lightweight, stain-resistant and easy to maintain. However, it can be prone to scratching

Overmount, top mount, or drop-in sinks are the most common type of

or denting.

sink. These are

Some stainless

inset into a cut-out

steel sinks have

hole, overlapping


the countertop.

properties and

Undermount sinks are

come in different

fitted underneath the

gauge thicknesses.

countertop. This can

Some could even have a textured surface finish to increase the

save counter space and

lifetime of the sink.

allow for easier cleaning

Composite and resin-based sinks are available in the largest

of the surface, but they

range of colors, shapes and finishes. They are generally heat-,

require the countertop

scratch- and shock-resistant and easy to maintain. Some of the

cut-out holes to be

more popular high-end materials for stone composite sinks

carefully measured and

44 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

pre-finished to align with the sink. Apron-front sinks, also known as

a more convenient option for larger kitchens that may have multiple people

farmhouse sinks, sit on top of a cabinet

using the kitchen simultaneously. If

base underneath the countertop, with

space is limited, double sinks with one

the front exposed. They are often large

large and one small sink are a favorable

and deep and are an extremely popular


choice in traditional kitchens. When

Single-bowl sinks come in a variety

working with apron-front sinks, make

of shapes and sizes. Small single-bowl

sure the dimensions of the base cabinet

sinks may be favored by people with

are suitable for the chosen sink.

limited kitchen space or who don’t cook

Choosing the Number of Bowls The number of bowls chosen will depend on the countertop space available. How the sink will be used is also a significant factor: Larger cookware may require a deeper and larger bowl than standard dishes, pots and pans. How often and the amount of use also need to be considered. Larger bowl options are more suited to more frequent use.

that often. Larger single-bowl sinks may be preferred over divided versions as they can facilitate quicker cleaning when using larger cookware or equipment. Workstation sinks are becoming popular as they provide an array of accessories and come in various materials, including stainless steel, quartz and fireclay. Workstation sinks maximize a kitchen’s workspace by allowing you to use the area directly over your sink for prep work, chopping, slicing, drying dishes, draining produce and many other tasks. Depending on the model, the accessories can turn the sink into a temporary countertop or a more

one basin without a drainboard and are

productive cleaning area.

appropriate for food prep tasks. While round basin bowls may be more arduous

Choosing the Shape The shape of a kitchen sink can help expedite kitchen chores, and the design and structure of the kitchen, along with the countertop, may lead one to choose a specific sink.

for washing, their smooth curves are usually easier to clean than squareshaped sinks. There are many things to consider when choosing the right kitchen sink. It may just boil down to personal style

Rectangular sinks seem to be the Double sinks come in many shapes

most favored shape and are available in

and sizes, including bowls of equal size,

many sizes and configurations, such as

one large and one small, completely

with two bowls or ones that include a

separated or with a low-level divider.

draining board.

These low-level divider sinks can

Round and square prep sinks have

and what one finds the most functional for the individual purpose in the new or remodeled kitchen. Listen to your customer’s needs, understand the space and structure of the room and cabinetry,

Corner sinks take advantage of

provide more flexibility when washing

what would typically be unused space,

and be aware of all the options on

and cleaning larger dishes or kitchen

especially in L- and U-shaped kitchens,

the market so you can offer the best

cookware. Two large bowls may be

which frees up counter space.

solution. C








International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 45


Changing Lanes but Staying on Track By Nancy Busch, ISFA Executive Director Change is a constant force that shapes our lives in unexpected and profound ways. The past three years of my

these ventures possible and impactful. Yet, it’s not just the visible accomplishments that define

journey with the International Surface Fabricators Association

our journey. The behind-the-scenes dedication of member

have been a testament to the power of change and the

volunteers has been the bedrock of ISFA’s success. One

incredible opportunities it brings. As I step away from my role,

remarkable example is the ongoing solid surface training,

I am filled with gratitude for the transformative experiences, cherished memories and the remarkable individuals I’ve had the privilege to work alongside. When the opportunity to lead the association presented itself, I wasn’t actively seeking change. However, an undeniable pull within me urged me to step up and make a difference within an industry and community I deeply cared about. Reflecting on these three years, a sense of pride wells within me as I contemplate the achievements and growth that the association and industry have undergone. The first year brought unforeseen challenges as we navigated the uncharted waters of the pandemic. With the inability to gather in person, we swiftly adapted, creating a virtual series of fabrication training for various materials. This initiative exemplified our community’s resilience and set the stage for the success of the first-ever virtual Annual Conference. The support of our sponsors was instrumental in turning hurdles into steppingstones. In 2021, we reunited in person in Wickenburg, Arizona, for the Annual Conference. Industry experts like Eric Tryon, Ted Sherritt and Aaron Crowley imparted invaluable wisdom on business growth and succession planning. Their messages reminded us that change is constant and preparedness is essential. Amidst these endeavors, the ISFA family expanded its reach through initiatives like the Behind the Surface Podcast.

a two-day immersive experience unparalleled in depth and hands-on learning. Contributors like ISFA Past President Joe Duszka, Aristech’s Aaron Davis, Augie Chavez and his team at Gecko Solid Surface Solutions, and the Lakewood Countertops team exemplify the spirit of generosity and knowledge-sharing that make our community thrive. As we ventured into new materials, such as mineral surfaces, the willingness of industry peers to open their doors for training sessions showcased the unity and collective pursuit of excellence. Companies like Smokey Mountain Tops, Tower Industries and FLOFORM Countertops, supported by sponsors like Crossville Inc., Daltile and MSI, demonstrated the incredible potential of collaboration and resource-sharing. Change is indeed an opportunity — a chance to embrace new horizons, learn and grow. The tapestry of my time with ISFA is woven with threads of gratitude for the countless individuals who’ve walked this path with me. The road ahead holds promise, potential and the excitement of continued collaboration. As we bid farewell to one chapter and usher in the next, I am filled with profound gratitude for the past, present, and the unwritten future that awaits. I’ve witnessed firsthand how change can open doors we never imagined. I genuinely believe that the energy we’ve built will not just persist but flourish, guided by the committed leadership of our board and the incredible ISFA team.

This platform became a conduit for meaningful information,

And now, as my role shifts and I prepare to transition from

aligning with our mission to educate, provide resources, foster

a leader to a volunteer, the story continues. This change marks

camaraderie and enhance safety within the manufactured

not an end but a new chapter. I’m not venturing far; I’m still

surfaces industry. The collaboration and commitment of

committed to serving ISFA and its mission. This time, I’ll stand

countless volunteers and sponsors, like the yearlong Installing

alongside the volunteers and contributors who have made this

Profitability podcast series sponsored by BACA Systems, made

journey remarkable.

46 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association


Fabricators Get Up to Speed on Porcelain and Sintered Materials with ISFA’s Mineral Surfaces Training Program By Sarah Peiper ISFA held a Mineral Surfaces Fabrication Training session September 13-14 in Massillon, Ohio; the comprehensive, twoday training event was held at Tower Countertops, a division of Tower Industries. Sponsored by Panoramic Porcelain by Daltile, the course is designed to arm fabricators with the knowledge and skills they need to embrace these materials to meet growing customer demand. More than 30 fabricators were in attendance, including shop owners, operators and managers. The event started with a welcome to new members, covering ISFA membership benefits, programs and more. Raul Amat, the national manager of Panoramic Porcelain Surfaces for Daltile North America, presented a comprehensive overview of mineral surface materials, including porcelain, sintered stone and ultra-compact surfaces. The presentation was sent to attendees after the training so they could share it with staff at their shops. “The overview explained how the materials are made and provided a foundation of understanding that I wasn’t aware of,” said Joey Carrabetta, Bluemar Marble. “Learning how these materials differ from others was helpful, and how to handle porcelain slabs was very useful. I gained a lot, including new tools and processes I will need in my shop.” Rey Matos, the technical support and fabrication specialist for Daltile North America, conducted the training. In the shop, attendees learned about all facets of the fabrication process, including material handling and inspection, cutting techniques (feed rate, blade recommendations, tension release cuts), sink cutouts, miters, overhangs, seaming, polishing and finishing, installation, and chip and scratch repair techniques. Attendees learned ways to minimize the risk of cracking and chipping. The trainer recommended larger pads, for example,

when offloading these materials from the delivery trucks, and they identified ideal locations for A-frame placement and other storage and handling best practices. Then fabricators worked in teams to glue up mitered edges, complete sink cutouts, bore holes for faucets and polish edges, including a waterjet demonstration. The training also covered vertical applications, including handling and installation. At the end of day two, the instructors covered chip repair techniques and other troubleshooting topics. “This was my first training session with ISFA,” said Brian Yi, Zean Century Stone Ltd. “It was a great experience overall. ISFA is a warm and welcoming group, and the training covered most of the areas I expected. The trainers are very knowledgeable professionals.” In addition, this training event included a moderated shop safety discussion with safety experts from Sheakley, a family-owned firm dedicated to practical and innovative risk management and safety solutions, and Kerry Klodt, general manager of Tower Industries, gave a presentation about Entrepreneurial Operating System, which has been successfully implemented at Tower for more than five years. Participants who completed the Mineral Surfaces Training with a satisfactory result received a certificate recognizing that they are an ISFA Certified Professional, and session materials including a fabrication guide, tool recommendations and other resources. ISFA is planning additional Mineral Surfaces Fabrication Training sessions for 2024. For more information about ISFA’s fabrication training options, including solid surface, or to get on the list for the next Mineral Surfaces event, contact International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 47

Scenes from the ISFA Annual Conference By Sarah Peiper

Fabricators and other industry professionals explored growth opportunities during the ISFA Annual Conference in October on the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. With nearly 70 in attendance, the event kicked off with a welcome reception and awards ceremony, which unveiled 10 recipients of the 2023 ISFA awards across nine categories. The award winners included: Commercial Solid Surface Project of the Year: Seneca Valley Ehrman Crest Elementary School in Harmony, Pennsylvania, fabricated by ASST of McSherrystown, Pennsylvania. (photo 2) Residential Solid Surface Project of the Year: The Madison Club feature wall in Palm Springs, California, fabricated by M|R Walls of Santa Monica, California. Commercial Quartz Project of the Year: 3D Puzzle of Superlatives public benches in Uppsala, Sweden, fabricated by Rosskopf + Partner of Germany. (photos 3 and 4) Residential Quartz Project of the Year: Floating stairs in a home in Austin, Texas, fabricated by Alpha Granite & Tile of Austin, Texas. (photo 1: Owner Denis Phocas and Sales Manager Tracy Rodriguez) Commercial Mineral Surface Project of the Year: The Silva Hotel rooftop grills in Washington, D.C., fabricated by Ellis Page Company of Manassas, Virginia.

48 • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • International Surface Fabricators Association

Residential Mineral Surface Project of the Year: A series of bathrooms in a home in Hesse, Germany, fabricated by Rosskopf + Partner of Germany. (photo 5) Sustainable Project of the Year: The Tideline Autograph Marriott in West Palm Beach, Florida, fabricated by Moderno Porcelain Works of Sunrise, Florida. Fabricator of the Year: Eastern Surfaces, Allentown, Pennsylvania. Hall of Fame Inductees: Mike Langenderfer, The Countertop Shop, Monclova, Ohio Omar Salazar, Rockin’teriors, Raleigh, North Carolina Educational sessions were held in subsequent days, including a presentation by Rich Hubner, safety practice lead for BSI, about driving successful change in safety culture, a topic that attendees were passionate about amidst the growing concern around the dangers of silica. A Q&A discussion followed, during which fabricators shared ideas and strategies for building a strong company culture. Additional panel discussions focused on optimizing software and technology to improve productivity, and implementing new equipment and other systems that streamline processes and increase efficiency. “This was my first time attending the ISFA Annual Conference,” said Chris Sturdevant of Adobe Walls Stoneworks. “It was a terrific event. I met a lot of great people who understand my business. The programming was designed to help owners and managers like me troubleshoot, find ways

Attendees enjoyed a breathtaking island backdrop during networking events at the 2023 ISFA Annual Conference.

to improve and keep growing. The safety presentation helped clarify hazard versus risk while gaining a better understanding of what steps need to be taken to stay OSHA compliant.” After lunch, attendees enjoyed leisure time to take advantage of the resort’s amenities, including a private pool party. Located close to Casino Royale and the famous Maho Beach, the resort was an idyllic place to bask in the sun on a white sand beach, snorkel, kayak, paddleboard, play a round of golf, tour a nearby distillery and more. “This year’s annual conference was a huge success,” said Austin Maxwell, ISFA president. “The educational sessions were so informative, and I’m always impressed by what comes out of these discussions. There are so many valuable takeaways, and it’s amazing to see our fabricator members and associate members come together to help each other strengthen businesses and further the industry. That’s the heart of ISFA.” ISFA would like to thank the sponsors of this year’s event: Dal-Tile, Aristech Surfaces, BB Industries, Caesarstone, Cosentino, Durasein, Infinity Surfaces, Integra Adhesives, Laser Products Industries, LX Hausys, Kohler and Park Industries. For more coverage of the ISFA Annual Conference, visit

Robert Hausserman of Precision Countertops and Todd Scott of Smokey Mountain Tops.

Brian Rocca, owner of Eastern Surfaces, accepts the 2023 Fabricator of the Year Award.

Attendees enjoy some fun in the sun at the ISFA Annual Conference.

The ISFA Annual Conference includes educational sessions and presentations that helped fabricators share ideas and learn strategies for growth.

Victoria Waterman, Heather Ricciardi, Brian Ricciardi and Mark Bulman of Ricciardi Marble & Granite are all smiles at the ISFA Annual Conference. International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 49


Thank You and Welcome ISFA Members (In alphabetical order) NEW FABRICATOR MEMBERS Advanced Interiors Jenison, Mich.

Design Surfaces Tile and Stone Westlake, Ohio

Middle Tennessee Granite Nashville, Tenn.

Schmidt’s Fine Woodworking Fort Worth, Texas

Visalia Ceramic Tile Visalia, Calif.

Bluemar Concord, Ontario

Down East Fabrication Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Moderno Works Sunrise, Fla.

Skyline Structures West Orange, N.J.

Wilcor Solid Surface Elk Grove Village, Ill.

Cain Millwork Rochelle, Ill.

DS Fabrication Aberdeen, S.D.

Quality Cabinets and Counters Fort Myers, Fla.

Stone Systems Raleigh, N.C.

Cook Inlet Housing Authority Anchorage, Alaska

Jedco Surfaces Vernal, Utah

Rozelle Stone Easley, S.C.

Southwest Research Institute San Antonio, Texas

DAP Construction Vista, Calif.

Kellerman Kitchen and Bath Baton Rouge, La.

Sawtooth Concepts Meridian, Idaho

Traditional Marble & Granite Milan, Ohio


Countertops of Memphis Memphis, Tenn.

Henry H. Ross & Son Lititz, Pa.

Parthenon Marble and Granite New Port Richey, Fla.

Surface Creations of Maine Portland, Maine

Accent Countertops Murray, Utah

Craftmark Solid Surfaces Norcross, Ga.

J.C.W. Countertops Woburn, Mass.

Pohaku Fabrication Lihue, Hawaii

Allbuilders Millworks Ruston, La.

Dakota Fixture & Cabinet Co. Madison, S.D.

Jaynes Structures Albuquerque, N.M.

American Epoxy Scientific Mountain Home, Ark.

DeLorenzo Marble Torrance, Calif.

Kauffman Kitchens New Holland, Pa.

Quality Cabinets and Counters Fort Myers, Fla.

The Countertop Factory Midwest Addison, Ill.

Eastern Surfaces Allentown, Pa.

Mill-Rite Woodworking Company Pinellas Park, Fla.

ASST McSherrystown, Pa. Atlanta Kitchen Decatur, Ga. Atlantic Countertops Raleigh, N.C. Bella Casa Countertops and Stone Littleton, Colo. Counter Fitters Savannah, Ga.

Fischer Tile & Marble Sacramento, Calif.

QVG Houston, Texas Routt Construction Company Van Buren, Ark.

The Granite & Marble Depot Aurora, Ill. The Granite Place Burlington, Mass. Top Priority Waipahu, Hawaii

Modern Home Distributing Nunda, N.Y.

Galaxy Granite & Marble Hopkinton, Mass.

Rumford Stone, Inc. Bow, N.H.

Nelson Tile and Stone Bend, Ore.

Triple M Surfaces Elkhart, Ind.

Gecko Solid Surface Solutions San Antonio, Texas

OGB Architectural Millwork/ Santa Fe Flooring Albuquerque, N.M.

Southern Inventions Granbury, Texas Spaulding Fabricators Brick, N.J.

Unique Countertops Buda, Texas

Sterling-Miller Designs Brockton, Mass.

White House Stone Lake Park, Fla.

Gunckel Architectural Stoneworks Seguin, Texas

Outlaw Construction Kodiak, Alaska

2023 ISFA BOARD OF DIRECTORS Austin Maxwell, president Maxwell Countertops (309) 928-2848

Mike Henry, director ASST (717) 451-4935

Mike Schott, director Onslow Stoneworks (252) 393-2457

Laura Grandlienard, vice president ROCKin’teriors (919) 577-0207

Kimberly Homs, director Great In Counters (401) 233-0666

Eric Tryon, director The Rockheads Group (678) 614-7111

Jessica McNaughton, secretary CaraGreen (919) 929-3009

Paul “Max” Le Pera, director Global Surfacing Alliance (908) 358-5252

Rodrigo Velazquez, director INDEKO 52 331-028-7863

Ted Sherritt, treasurer FLOFORM Countertops (204) 474-2334

Steve Mast, director Precision Countertops (503) 660-3023

Jim Callaghan, assoc. member rep. GranQuartz (248) 660-3291

Joe Duszka, immediate past president Carolina Custom Surfaces (336) 215-5518

Travis McDermott, director McDermott Top Shop (262) 593-2456

Frank Sciarrino, assoc. member rep. Quote Countertops (858) 499-8934

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T H A N K S TO O U R 2 0 2 3 S P O N S O R S

Sponsorship opportunities are available for qualifying manufacturers, distributors and other industry-related companies. These businesses are dedicated to the success of the International Surface Fabricators Association and fabricators everywhere. Through their contributions, sponsors enable ISFA to create meaningful opportunities for its membership including training, education, business development, networking and more.


ISFA CONTACTS ISFA P.O. Box 627 Ingomar, PA 15127 (888) 599-ISFA Fabricator Member Services Carol Wilhite (412) 487-3207 Member Experience Coordinator Samantha Winslow (888) 599-ISFA


Content Manager | Editor Sarah Peiper (888) 599-ISFA Web/Database Administrator Amy Kyriazis (412) 487-3207 Administrative Assistant Kanani Camacho (888) 599-ISFA


International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 51

ISFA ASSOCIATE MEMBER DIRECTORY Companies listed in red are ISFA 2023 Sponsors ACS International 4775 South 3rd Ave. Tucson, AZ 85714 520-889-1933 Aetna Plywood Inc. 1401 St. Charles Rd. Maywood, IL 60153 708-343-1515 Akrilika Svobody Str., 29 Moscow 125362 Russian Federation 79119451961 Aristech Surfaces 7350 Empire Dr. Florence, KY 41042 859-283-1501 BACA Systems 101 Premier Dr. Orion Township, MI 48359 248-791-3060 BB Industries 4100 Appalachian Way Knoxville, TN 37918 800-575-4401

Caesarstone US 1401 W. Morehead St. Charlotte, NC 28208 818-378-2667

Crossville 349 Sweeney Dr. Crossville, TN 38555 931-456-2110

Cambria USA 31496 Cambria Le Sueur, MN 56058 507-665-5003

Dal-Tile Corporation 7834 CF Hawn Frwy. Dallas, TX 75217 214-309-3162

CaraGreen 1406 Transport Dr. Raleigh, NC 27603 919-929-3009

Dixie Plywood & Lumber P.O. Box 2328 Savannah, GA 31402 912-447-7000

Chemcore Industries 5311 Fleming Ct. Austin, TX 78744 866-243-6267

Doyle Farris (Bellavati) 6606 FM 1488, Ste. 148-517 Magnolia, TX 77354 859-533-3079

Chemical Concepts 410 Pike Rd. Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006 800-220-1966

Duda Consulting 3601 Southwest River Pkwy. Portland, OR 97239 503-949-7738

Emnas Technologies 347 Ferndale Dr. South Barrie, ON L4N 9Y6 647-302-3630 Evans Midwest 11441 E. Lakewood Blvd. Holland, MI 49424 616-546-8225 Fabricator’s Business Coach 309 Gassaway St. Central, SC 29630-9197 864-328-6231 Federal Brace 710 E Catawba St., Ste. A Belmont, NC 28012 877-353-8899 Fifth Gear Technology (Speed Label) 450 N. Addison Ave. Elmhurst, IL 60126 630-606-8055

DuPont (Corian Design) 200 Powder Mill Rd. Wilmington, DE 19803 314-941-5179

GEM Industries 5030 N. Hiatus Rd. Sunrise, FL 33351 954-749-1228

Compac USA 1777 NW 72nd Ave., Unit 2 Miami, FL 33126 305-406-3600

Durasein USA 7030 Quad Ave., Ste. 3 Rosedale, MD 21237 877-771-7712

Gemstone 2040 Industrial Pkwy. Elkhart, IN 46516-5411 574-294-8899

Cosentino USA 355 Alhambra Cir., 10th Floor Coral Gables, FL 33134 786.812.0509

Durcon 206 Allison Dr. Taylor, TX 76574 512-595-8000

Grand Onyx 134 West South Boundary St. Perrysburg, OH 43551 567-686-1040

Breton S.p.A. Via Garibaldi, 27 Castello di Godego 31030 Italy 3904237691

Countertop Marketing Co. 402 Pequot Ave., #772 Southport, CT 06890 203-993-6676

Dwyer Marble & Stone Supply 23177 Commerce Dr. Farmington Hills, MI 48335 248-476-4944

Granite Gold, Inc. 12780 Danielson Ct., Ste. A Poway, CA 92064 858-499-8934

Bronwick Recruiting 7700 Basil Dr. Austin, TX 78750 512-981-5294

Covia Corp 9930 Kincey Ave., Ste. 200 Huntersville, NC 28078 800-243-9004

Elevated Industrial Solutions 2050 West Barberry Place Denver, CO 80204 303-908-9095

GranQuartz 3950 Steve Reynolds Blvd. Norcross, GA 30093 800-458-6222

Better Vacuum Cups 13841 Roswell Ave., Ste. K Chino, CA 91710 877-379-9909 BNP Media 2401 W. Big Beaver Rd. Ste. 700 Troy, MI 48084 (248) 362-3700

Colonial Saw 122 Pembroke St. Kingston, MA 02364 781-585-4364

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ISFA ASSOCIATE MEMBER DIRECTORY Companies listed in red are ISFA 2023 Sponsors Groves Incorporated 818 Trakk Ln. Woodstock, IL 60098 815-337-9780 Hallmark Building Supplies 901 Northview Rd., Ste. 100 Waukesha, WI 53188 800-642-2246 Home Stone Designs 26834 Avenue of the Oaks Unit B Santa Clarita, CA 91321 818-518-4428 Hyundai L&C USA 2839 Paces Ferry Rd., Ste. 1100 Atlanta, GA 30339 888-426-9421 Ignite Consulting Group (Hot Sauce Selling Software) 450 N. Addison Ave. Elmhurst, IL 60126 630-606-8055 INEOS Composites 5200 Blazer Pkwy. Dublin, OH 43017 614-790-2078 Infinity Surfaces Via Giardini Nord 225 P.IVA : 00175990365 Pavullo Nel Frignano Modena 41026 Italy 39 0536 329322 InfoStream Solutions 134 West South Boundary St. Perrysburg, OH 43551 567-686-1040 InnoChem/Akemi 160 Candlewyck Dr. Avondale, PA 19311 IPS Adhesives LLC (Integra Adhesives) 455 W. Victoria St. Compton, CA 90220 919-598-2400

Jaeckle Distributors 4101 Owl Creek Dr. Madison, WI 53718 608-838-5400 Karonia Surfaces Ansym Lodge, Water Lane Eggborough, GOOLE DN14 0PN United Kingdom 447814415724 Karran USA P.O. Box 667 1291 E. Ramsey Rd. Vincennes, IN 47591 410-975-0128 Kohler Co. P.O. Box 899 Kohler, WI 50344 920-457-4441 Krion Solid Surface (Porcelanosa) CTRA Villareal-Puebla De Arenoso KM1 Villareal 12540 Spain 34964506464

Moksh Tech #1204, Pushpak Landmark Bldg. Near Titanium City Center Anand Nagar Rd. Prahlad Nagar Ahmedabad 380 015 India 3012522673 Moraware 13125 Welcome Way Reno, NV 89511 866-312-9273 MSI Surfaces 2095 N. Batavia St. Orange, CA 92865 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health 1095 Willowdale Rd., MS-2800 Morgantown, WV 26505 Natural Stone Institute 380 E. Lorain St. Oberlin, OH 44074 440-250-9222

Lapitec Via Bassanese 6 Vedelago, Treviso 31050 Italy

Ollin Stone 301 E. Ball Rd. Anaheim, CA 92805 714-535-0800

Laser Products Industries, Inc. 1344 Enterprise Dr. Romeoville, IL 60446 630-755-5402

ONE Wade 10075 Davisburg Rd. Davisburg, MI 48350 248-804-1408

LOTTE Chemical 6 Centerpointe, Ste. 100 La Palma, CA 90623 714-443-0901

Park Industries P.O. Box 188 St. Cloud, MN 56302 320-251-5077

LX Hausys America 900 Circle 75 Parkway Ste. 1500 Atlanta, GA 30339 678-535-4113

Parson Adhesives Inc. (Chromalok) 3345 Auburn Rd., Ste. 107 Rochester Hills, MI 48309 248-299-5585

Poseidon Industries 4080 Duncan Rd. Punta Corda, FL 33982 Princeton Chemical Company 7030 Quad Ave., Ste. 3 Rosedale, MD 21237 877-778-6878 Prodim Systems 7454 Commercial Cir. Ft. Pierce, FL 34951 772-465-4000 Quote Countertops 11811 N. Tatum Blvd., #3078 Phoenix, AZ 85028 619-726-7660 Rep Methods 1613 Congressional Ct. Richmond, VA 23238 804-238-3461 Rock Doctor/Apex Products 8333 Melrose Dr. Lenexa, KS 66214 913-894-0288 Rockheads Group 815-210-1006 Sage Surfaces 6700 The Woodlands Pkwy. Ste. 230-303 The Woodlands, TX 77382 837-403-2847 Sasso USA 220 N. Smith St., Ste. 414 Palatine, IL 60067 224-200-8004 Schechner Lifson Corp. 4 Chatham Rd. Summit, NJ 07901 908-598-7813

International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 53

ISFA ASSOCIATE MEMBER DIRECTORY Companies listed in red are ISFA 2023 Sponsors Schultz Forming Products 2796 Loker Ave. W., Ste. 105 Carlsbad, CA 92010 800-822-2875 Slab Caddy 5949 American Rd. E Toledo, OH 43612 419-726-7400 6641 N. Cibola Ave. Tucson, AZ 85718 520-247-3304 Stone Fabricator Elite 211 E 43rd St., 7th Floor, #270 New York, NY 10017 646-599-5704 Synchronous Solutions 3405 Rainbow Dr. Waxhaw, NC 28173 704-560-1536 Taffy Events 2300 Clarendon Blvd., Ste. 305 Arlington, VA 22201 301-774-7739

Tile Council of North America 100 Clemson Research Blvd. Anderson, SC 29625 601-506-1609

US Surfaces 4601 Spicewood Springs Rd. Bldg. 1, Ste. 100 Austin, TX 78759 512-454-2229

Wilsonart 2501 Wilsonart Dr. P.O. Box 6110 Temple, TX 76503-6110 800-433-3222

TotalHousehold Pro 65A Walnut Hill Rd. Bethel, CT 06801 203-733-1276

Vicostone USA 11620 Goodnight Ln. Ste. 100 Dallas, TX 75229 972-243-2325

Wood Stock Supply 4705 S. I-90 Service Rd. Rapid City, SD 57703 605-341-6900

Trajus Surfaces 3 Dubon Ct. Farmingdale, NY 11735 516-777-2700

Water Treatment Solutions 6 Merrill Industrial Dr. Hampton, NH 03842 603-758-1900

Triton Stone Group 6025 West 80th St. Indianapolis, IN 46278 317-644-1200

Web-Don 1400 Ameron Dr. Charlotte, NC 28206 800-532-0434

US Silica 24275 Katy Fwy., Ste. 600 Katy, TX 77494 346-334-0745

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Willis 1149 Pioneer Rd. Burlington L7M 1K5 Canada 289-775-5814

ZOLLER 3900 Research Park Dr. Ann Arbor, MI 48108 734-332-4851

PRODUCT NEWS Baldocer Porcelain: Dome Series

Cambria Introduces Six New Designs

B-Plus is Baldocer’s top brand which consists of largesized and slim porcelain tiles. B-Plus porcelain tiles are produced in 240 by 120 cm and 260 by 120 cm with 6 mm thicknesses. The Dome series, featured in Baldocer’s B-Plus product category, is a 20-mm thick porcelain stoneware in an 80 by 80 cm format with a rectified finish. Available in four colors — Bone, Ash, Nut and Antrathite — the collection includes a nonslip matte finish. The series perfectly imitates an exterior basalt stone. Dome is ideal for floors, walls, countertops and exterior cladding. Find more information at en/product/dome/.

Cambria recently introduced six new additions to its iconic quartz design palette. The groundbreaking new designs are fueled by Cambria’s proprietary technology and techniques, and transcend the existing palette to further expand its innovative quartz surface collection. The three new Windsor designs include Windsor Brass, Windsor Steel Satin Ridge and Windsor Brass Satin Ridge, pictured here. In addition, three new Inverness designs have been added: Inverness Swansea, Inverness Everleigh and Inverness Bristol Bay. All six of the new Cambria designs are available immediately and come in 2 cm and 3 cm thicknesses and are available in jumbo slab size of 65.5 inches by 132 inches (60 square feet). Cambria has the most extensive palette of designs in the world with over 170 bold designs. These state-of-the-art designs can be viewed in full slabs at Cambria’s galleries and showrooms across the country. Samples can be ordered online at

Workstation Quartz Sink by Domain Industries

ENVI Quartz and Porcelain Slabs

Discover the Workstation Quartz Kitchen Sink, constructed from 80% natural quartz. This blend ensures a sink surface that is both durable and hygienic. Emulating the smooth feel of stone, the quartz material boasts soundabsorption properties and offers robust protection against heat, scratches and stains. Available in four distinct colors, its versatile design is suitable for both drop-in and undermount installations. The sink features a deep 9-1/2inch bowl with sleek corner radiuses for straightforward cleaning. Unique to this sink is the integrated workstation ledge, designed to accommodate and optimize the use of the accessory kit items. This kit includes a stainless steel rollout mat, wood cutting board, stainless bottom grids, and color-matched strainer basket and disposal flange. For more information, visit

The ENVI Quartz and Porcelain slab collections represent a turnkey brand solution for savvy trade professionals. Backed by their concierge support team and comprehensive merchandising program, each brings together the world’s most on-trend looks, crafted by their handselected group of dedicated producers. Expansive and always evolving, these marketdefining collections now encompass 40 quartz and 40 porcelain selections. Recent quartz additions include eight brand-new, on-trend colorways: Cristall, Tiffany Gold, Venetian Lace, Matera, Galena, Palazzo, Waterfall and Alpine Blu. Guided by decades of industry experience, the ENVI team ensures every slab meets our exacting specifications, performance requirements and high-value expectations. You can rely on ENVI Surfaces to help your customers create the environments they envision — spaces everyone will admire. Pictured here is a sleek, contemporary kitchen showcasing the classic aesthetic of ENVI Cristall. For more information on both ENVI quartz and porcelain collections, visit International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 55

PRODUCT NEWS Durasein Presents The Ansel Sink From leaders in the solid surface industry, Durasein’s Ansel Sink captures both beauty and grandeur with a striking sense of depth. It is available in two colors: Arctic White and Natural White. Durasein solid surface sinks and lavatories are certified by Home Innovation Research Labs and tested in accordance with CSA B45.5/IAPMO Z124. The Ansel Sink is also: • 100% acrylic. • Easy to clean. • Nonporous. • Stain-resistant. • Mold- and mildew-resistant. • Suitable for residential and commercial applications. • Integral overflow? Yes. From air quality to food safety, Durasein is engineered to maintain a safer environment for human health. Durasein is GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Gold Indoor Air Quality-certified to have low chemical emissions, and EN ISO 16000-9 testing also showed that there were no traces of harmful substances in its product. Both Durasein’s material and the cured adhesive used in installation are 100% free of formaldehyde and volatile organic compound emissions. Durasein is NSF-51 certified to ensure that it’s safe for food equipment and food contact. Find more information at www.

New Lighter Weight GEM Orbital Sander The GEM Orbital Sander features an 11-inch drive pad which reduces labor by at least 50% over traditional 5- or 6-inch rotary tools. And as opposed to high-speed rotary sanders, the 100% orbital action of the GEM Orbital Sander eliminates the possibility of swirl marks, leaving a totally consistent and uniform finish. There is no need to apply pressure; the weight of the machine does all the work. Simply guide the sander across the surface like polishing a car. The GEM Orbital Sander comes with, or without, a shroud attachment for dust collection, and is available in 220 volts. Eleven-inch abrasives are available. This is the ideal tool for sanding large flat solid surface countertops. For more information, visit

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HanStone Quartz by Hyundai L&C USA: Bianco Marquina Collection Inspired by nature’s elegance and explosiveness, HanStone Bianco Marquina collection is a harmonious blend of contemporary aesthetics and something new. With its two colors – Aurelia and Odina — the collection infuses a refreshing twist of modern confidence into any space. Aurelia, portraying the golden morning sunrise, perfectly embodies warmth and elegance. Its pristine white base and delicate gold veining are sure to create a welcoming air, bringing a beautiful addition. Drawing inspiration from the grandness of the mountain range, Odina portrays a combination of dynamic and natural beauty. This bold design adds a touch of confidence to any space, making it the perfect choice for those who seek to make a statement. To see the full collection, please visit

Hanex Solid Surfaces by Hyundai L&C USA: Cascade Collection Inspired by the beauty of cascading waterfalls, the Hanex Cascade collection is designed to emulate the graceful movement of cascading waterfalls. This visually captivating and versatile collection consists of six distinct colors: Cascade Cream, Grey, Black, Ice, White and Beige. Each features subtle color variations and delicate patterns contributing to their natural and elegant appearances. Additionally, the Cascade collection boasts a low overall color contrast, suggesting that each color can easily complement a wide range of interior spaces. This adaptability is valuable for anyone seeking a material that can perfectly blend with any decor. With its practicality and timeless beauty, Hanex Cascade collection serves as a source of inspiration for designers, architects and homeowners, embodying an unwavering commitment to quality and innovation. To see the full collection, visit

PRODUCT NEWS Alpinus White from XTONE by Porcelanosa Introducing Alpinus White, a unique design that’s highlighted by a background of cream tones and small crystals that beautifully detail the nature of this Brazilian stone. With an extensive format, and a variety of finishes and thicknesses, XTONE sintered stone surfaces adapt to any environment and application, achieving greater continuity and visual aesthetics. The large format surface allows the materialization of ideas through a durable, elegant and functional material. These sintered stone surfaces are an ideal material for both indoor and outdoor use with endless application possibilities from flooring and countertops, to decorative elements and more. Alpinus White sintered stone surfacing is applicable for all settings and environments from residential, contract and retail to institutional and beyond. Alpinus White is produced in Porcelanosa’s state-of-the-art facilities which feature a total of 4,475 solar panels that promote sustainable energy consumption. The facility also recovers 100% of the heat from the kiln, reuses 100% of water through a treatment facility, and recycles 100% of waste by reincorporating it back into the production system. Learn more at

Meganite Launches the Nature Series The Nature Series includes earth-inspired designs that are nurtured to reflect the unspoiled landscape of the world’s vast wilderness with neutral and warm shades, and soft yet sophisticated aesthetics. With four colors, including Soft Statuario, Mont Blanc, Himalaya and Crater Lake (shown here), the collection embraces design elements that replicate the organic beauty of nature, complemented by a minimalistic and timeless earthy color palette, rendering it a versatile option for contemporary interior designs. Find technical documents and specification tools at

LT3Raptor by Laser Products Industries LT3Raptor is a new digital templating platform designed with a robust cloud-based management hub to make you faster and more efficient not only in templating, but also other areas of your process including job management, programming and more. LT3Raptor has built-in Templating Intelligence to make quick even quicker. From Edge Detection to One-Touch technology, finish fabrication-ready files in fewer clicks easily and intuitively. LT3Raptor has taken the user-friendly foundation of the current LT software and enhanced it. The new UX and UI feature workspace customization, improved Quick Actions and more. This management hub enables you to view and manage jobs, edge styles, drop-ins, user permissions and workflows. If you are interested in learning more about LT3Raptor, visit

TITAN 4000 CNC Router Series by Park Industries The legend of TITAN forges forward with the new 4000 Series. Unmatched efficiency, uptime and production come together as the pinnacle of CNC router productivity. This powerful combination of size, speed, accuracy and operational ease feels beyond the realm of possibility. The new TITAN 4000 series features swift rapid speeds and high-speed tooling optimization. Produce installation-ready parts straight from the industry’s easiest-to-operate CNC router and save 90% on labor. With the largest work area in the industry, the TITAN 4000 Series is now in a compact design that takes up 25% less floor space. TITAN 4000 Series is the most productive way to finish countertops, vanities and more. Learn more at International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 57

PRODUCT NEWS Museum Surfaces: Sublime Series Sublime presents a wide range of designs that can stand alone or be mixed and matched to craft extraordinary surfaces. The collection offers four different stone-look motifs, each conjuring a mystical scenery. Striking graphics, bold colors and larger-than-life tiles come together to create fantastical interiors. Sublime is available in a 150-by-320 cm (12 mm) format with shaped finish. See more at

Walker Zanger Presents the Perpetua Quartz Collection Part of Walker Zanger’s engineered surface collections, Perpetua Quartz is meticulously crafted from handpicked quartz crystals. It is the perfect marriage of timeless beauty and long-lasting durability. These premium quartz slabs have it all — durability, diverse color and richly complex markings that define any room they play a role in. They also offer exceptional resistance to scratches making them well-suited to kitchens that combine functionality with signature style. Used alone, they create handsome, highly-unified spaces, but they can also act as a subtle background for more graphic tiles and slabs. View the whole collection at product-category/slabs/collections-slabs/perpetua-quartz/.

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Häcker Kitchens: PerfectSense with Feelwood for Cabinets and Countertops Häcker Kitchens, the leading German manufacturer of modern kitchen cabinetry, continues its exploration of creative and highly functional surfaces with the introduction of PerfectSense with Feelwood, another innovation for cabinet and countertop surfaces. PerfectSense with Feelwood delivers a matte, silky and pleasantly warm surface. The exclusive design of the new wood veneer in a horizontal grain relief front produces an extravagant and elegant look. PerfectSense with Feelwood surfaces are light- and UV-resistant, heat-, light-, water- and stainproof, and easy to clean with its inherent anti-fingerprint properties. Learn more at

Laminam I Naturali Collection Laminam has officially introduced four new exquisite colors to the existing I Naturali collection in the North American market. The colors are inspired by highly sought-after natural marble stones found in Italy, Spain and Brazil. Homeowners now have the ability to feature these beautiful, inspiredby-nature surfaces in their homes with minimum maintenance. Perfect for fireplace cladding, countertops, outdoor kitchens and furniture, Laminam surfaces can be used for both interior and exterior applications with high resistance to heat, UV rays, scratches and stains. Learn more at www.


The Power of Partnerships By Austin Maxwell, ISFA President

As we approach the end of the year, it’s a time for introspection and planning for the future. This is an opportunity to reflect on the critical role that our partners play in our business — particularly our suppliers. There’s significance in cultivating strong and mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers, as they can profoundly impact our business’s success. Selecting the right suppliers is more than just a matter of cost; it’s about creating a partnership based on reliability, quality and shared values. Take this opportunity to assess your current supplier relationships. Are your suppliers consistently delivering high-quality materials punctually? Do they offer competitive pricing? Are they responsive to your requests and concerns? Do they bring you opportunities to grow your business? Reflecting on these aspects can help identify areas for improvement or opportunities to cultivate new supplier partnerships. It’s easy to get caught up in reviewing the cost of materials on the supplier’s price list, and we forget about the intangible costs we incur due to suppliers. You have to look beyond price when evaluating suppliers. What is the cost of your company’s reputation faltering due to a material supplier that didn’t deliver on time or supplied damaged goods, forcing you to reschedule the installation? While cost-efficiency is essential, focus on the overall value a supplier can bring your business. Factors like product quality, lead times, reliability and willingness to adapt to your business needs should be considered. Choose vendors who make your life easier and avoid the vendors that cause you problems and headaches. While it is, in some ways, advantageous to develop deep relationships with one vendor, proceed with caution if any one vendor makes up more than 50% of your purchases. Consider diversifying your supplier base to reduce risks associated with

overreliance on a single source. Building robust connections with multiple suppliers can offer you flexibility and alternatives when it comes to sourcing materials, enhancing the resilience of your supply chain. In addition to strengthening supplier relationships, consider the transformative power of industry involvement and networking when evaluating your options. Getting engaged in the countertop fabrication and installation community can open doors to valuable insights and opportunities. Attending ISFA Roundtable events, trade shows and conferences can be a game-changer for your business. These gatherings provide a means to connect with industry peers, experts and potential partners. Networking isn’t just about making connections; it’s also about sharing knowledge. Sometimes, learning just one valuable insight or strategy from a fellow professional can completely transform your business. For example, a pointer I picked up at the 2017 ISFA Annual Conference has paid for my annual membership dues and all travel and event expenses since then. When you go to these events, you can pick up a whole host of ideas to take back to the shop. The fact is that just one or two of these can make a huge impact. As you conclude this year and prepare for the next, remember that your supplier relationships are central to your prosperity. Take the time to evaluate your existing partnerships and explore opportunities to enhance them in the coming year. Simultaneously, consider actively participating in the countertop fabrication and installation industry by attending events and networking. Engaging with industry professionals and staying updated on the latest developments is a catalyst for growth and innovation that shouldn’t be overlooked. International Surface Fabricators Association • Vol. 16 / Issue 4 • 59

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