Living the dream. It’s what most of us want, but few seem to achieve. Anacleto and Elizabeth Groberio of AGF Marble in Worcester, MA are two of the lucky ones.
“We really want to help our customers make their dream a realization,” says Elizabeth. “They save for years and years to afford a granite countertop. We value that. We respect that. We try to work it out so they can have granite in their home.”
A Future In Granite Countertops
While helping their customers’ dreams come true, it turns out the Groberios are working on a dream of their own. “Ever since our marriage we have been working on our future together,” Elizabeth explains. “We chose granite for three reasons: 1. It is beautiful, 2. It makes money and 3. We enjoy it. He likes fabrication and I like working on the design and helping customers.”
Anacleto came to the United States from Brazil in 2003. He met Elizabeth in 2005 and they were married within a couple of months. Although Elizabeth is American-born, her parents came to this country from Portugal, so she speaks Portuguese, which is Anacleto’s native tongue.
When he came to the U.S., Anacleto got employment fabricating and installing granite countertops for other companies. In 2006, the couple started their own business operating, at first, out of their apartment. Little by little, the company grew, until it could afford its own space and equipment. Now AGF Marble leases a 5,000 sq ft shop.
“We started out in the middle of the recession,” Elizabeth recalls. “But the economy didn’t affect us. A lot of our clients were homeowners stuck in their homes with a mortgage bigger than the home was worth. They said they couldn’t sell, so why not upgrade to granite?”
Mix In A Little Commercial Work
There was an additional revenue source the company tapped into as well. “The other half of our clientele was contractors who were buying old buildings and turning them into condos,” she says. “It became quite a niche for us. We never advertised, but we were able to find our own section of the market that kept us busy, even during the recession.”
Today, AGF Marble & Granite has nine employees and installs the equivalent of 20-25 kitchens per week. The shop is not automated, although it’s just a matter of time before that occurs. “We are looking at a CNC and inline backsplash polisher,” Elizabeth says, “but we can’t afford them right now. We are a small business trying to make a little niche in the industry. We try to do the best we can with what we have. ”
In the meantime, the Groberios continue to implement the strategy that has made their enterprise profitable every year since 2006: “We are honest. We don’t over-price. We pay attention to detail. And we cater to our clients.”
“I think people are frustrated today because, with the housing crisis, they think they don’t have anything that is really theirs” she continues. “If they are stuck in their homes it makes them feel good to have a granite countertop. We do what we can to help them make it happen.”
Want to know more? At Moraware, we make software for countertop fabricators. CounterGo is countertop drawing and estimating software. 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 granite remnants with fabricators near you.