The Natural Stone Industry

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The Natural Stone Industry

by: Mark Naugle

We have been, and still are on top of the game.

Well, the honeymoon is over so to speak for the stone industry…. Or at least it is for the hoards of shops that set up seemingly overnight during the housing boom of a couple of years back. The work just isn’t there for those shops that sunk gobs of capital into machinery over skilled hands. A shop’s floor sweeper one day, the next: the owner of a kitchen countertop fabrication shop; a self-proclaimed expert! Quality has so suffered over the past several years. The product of a high output edge machine just lacks the “soul” that a hand worked edge possesses. “Independent Contractors” can not install these remarkable products of nature as lovingly as a BAC certified Master Marble Mechanic.

At Steward-Mellon Company, marble, granite and the natural stones make up the smaller part of our overall mix. For example, we produce much more precast terrazzo in our shop than granite countertops. Those have so been commodified that they are available on every street corner (in some parts of town) at ridiculously low prices (and quality). The stone work we do here is another beast entirely. Whether it is an Art in Public Places project, a monument such as the Astronauts Memorial or the City of Tampa’s Fallen Officer Memorial, or ornate liturgical work, the people who want the very best craftsmanship in natural stone come to Steward-Mellon.