When he was 18 years old, Andy Nettles figured he had what it takes to build countertops for the upscale Low Country in and around Charleston, South Carolina. That was 27 years ago. Today, his company, Creative Countertops, has become the largest fabricator in the Charleston metro area, and covers markets in all of South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.
“We’re not your typical ‘mom and pop’ countertop fabricator,” explains General Manager, Guy Richards. “Our technology sets us apart. We have a double bed Flow water jet, two Intermac CNCs and two bridge saws. That allows us to do things that other companies can’t do, like custom shapes and much cleaner cuts.”
In 2002, Creative Countertops invested $2 million in plant and equipment to house its stone fabrication facility. That is in addition to the solid surface fabrication plant the company already owns, bringing total fabrication space to 35,000 sq ft. The company offers natural stone, quartz surfacing and solid surface countertops for commercial, wholesale/retail and residential market segments.
Twenty-five percent of its business comes from Lowe’s. All of its fabrication and installation is done in-house, which means Creative Countertops has 10 installation teams in company-branded trucks riding the roads every day in three different states.
Branded Trucks = Referrals
“All those trucks on the interstate give us good exposure,” Richards says. “People see the name and they remember us. Recently I got a call from a new builder in town who was looking for a supplier of countertops. He saw one of our trucks, noticed that we had been in business since 1985, and that was enough to prompt him to pick up the phone. Our trucks are some of our best advertising.”
Creative Countertops also relies heavily on referrals to keep the new business pipeline full. “We offer our customers an incentive program for referrals,” Richards explains.” We give $100 to the customer once the referred job is installed and the money collected. We may get 3-4 jobs from a single customer. By the same token, if we get a lead from a showroom, such as a carpet or flooring showroom, we take care of them financially as well.”
Always quick to respond to market needs and opportunities, Creative Countertops offers pre-made vanities at discount pricing on its website. The “Value Vanity Program” gives customers the choice of solid surface, granite or quartz surfacing, including pre-drilled faucet holes, built-up edges, 4” loose splashes, in four sizes and one or two sink combinations. Once the order is placed, the vanity is built and shipped to participating dealers within 10 days.
Helping Build The Community
As a longtime member of the Charleston community, Creative Countertops is quick to support a worthy cause. “We do a lot of stuff at no cost for organizations like the SPPCA, Pet Helpers and the local schools,” says Richards. “We don’t go out of our way to advertise free material, but people in the area know they can count on us.”
Recently the company donated a Lazy Susan made of Blue Bahia with a dolphin made of White Carrera inlaid into the surface for a Labor Day benefit auction. “We did it on the water jet,” says Richards. “It’s something fun we enjoy doing – and it’s for a good cause.”
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.