Mention to Matt and Laurie Qualey that their business is going to the dogs, and chances are pretty good you will be rewarded with a smile. That’s because the Qualeys have two passions. One is the granite and quartz business which they have nursed from lowly startup to one of the largest stone operations in Maine, and the other is the Rescue Dogs Rock charity branch of the Bangor Humane Society.
“We include the dogs in all of our television advertising,” Laurie Qualey explains. “People notice. Quite often someone will tell us they went with our company because of our work with the Humane Society.”
But this is more than just an advertising gimmick. The Qualeys truly believe in helping to place dogs and cats from the Humane Society into loving homes. One of the ways they do that is by donating $1 to the Bangor Humane Society for every “like” they receive on their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/QualeyGranite. Another is by walking the walk, which means adopting their own little pack of rescue dogs, namely, Penelope, Gaius and Baron.
Established in 2003 by the Qualeys, Qualey Granite and Quartz worked out of a 1,000 sq. ft. shop and showroom in Bangor, Maine. “One of the guys would hold the hose while another worked the stone,” Laurie remembers. “The building was so primitive we only had a porta-potty for a bathroom.”
Today, the company owns a 55,000 sq. ft. facility in Veazie (a suburb of Bangor) that houses a 5,000 sq. ft. showroom, 15,000 sq. ft. indoor slab warehouse, and a 10,000 sq. ft. shop. “Plus, room to grow,” Laurie adds. Initially the focus was on retail residential, but ever since moving into the new building two years ago the opportunities for commercial projects have increased dramatically.
That’s a trend the Qualeys hope to maintain, since commercial work has the greater potential for repeat business. To that end they now have an outside commercial sales person, who covers the entire state of Maine, Northern Massachusetts, and parts of New Hampshire.
Keeping Pace With Change
Following a shift in focus that seems prevalent in every industry these days, Qualey Granite & Quartz invests more and more of its advertising dollars into electronic media. Their website (qualeygranite.com) is a model for any well-run fabrication company, and the company is active on Facebook. They also do a fair amount of television advertising (although that investment will lessen as the company moves more toward commercial work), and it does a little radio advertising. “We do almost nothing in print these days,” Laurie explains.
For the future, the company is working on becoming more efficient at landing projects and getting them built and installed. They currently own a CNC, water jet, edge polisher, and three electronic templating systems. A second CNC is on order, and they now use Slab Smith technology to aid in slab selection and layout. Plus (this is good news for the folks in Central Maine), Qualey Granite is looking to hire more people – those with the potential to fit into the company culture, that is.
“We have all the gorgeous slabs, a beautiful slab warehouse for people to come choose their stone; we have the technology – but the finished product has to be stunning in the house,” Laurie says.
Want to know more? At Moraware, we make software for countertop fabricators. CounterGo lets you draw, estimate, and layout countertops in just minutes. JobTracker is scheduling software that helps you eliminate the time you waste looking for job folders. RemnantSwap is a free place to buy and sell stone remnants with fabricators near you.