While in high school Mike Sorg worked for the local stone company, Shelburne Marble & Stone, and fell in love with the creative, hands-on aspect of working with the material. After college, Sorg purchased the company he worked for as a kid and renamed it Classic Marble & Stone. That was in 1985. Keep in mind this pre-dates granite countertops.
A few years later, granite became a red-hot, must-have commodity, and Sorg was in the thick of it. In fact, he can lay claim to the distinction of installing the first granite countertops in the Ft. Wayne, Indiana area. With all that experience and history to rely on, one might think Sorg knows all there is about fabricating and installing stone countertops.
“Not so,” he says. “The key is to see if there is a better way to do things. To keep learning. We watch trends and we order from people all around the world, and that is how we learn. We talk to other people in the industry and see how they are doing things.”
Take, for example, Sorg’s friendship with Nigel Ferguson of Edstein Creative Stone in Australia. “We met Nigel in Italy at the stone show,” he says. “There were a whole lot of us went out to eat together and I sat across from him at the restaurant. Our companies seemed to have a lot in common – both running shops, very similar machinery. We got to talking quite a bit. After that we exchanged emails occasionally. A few years later we ran into him again in Verona and the subject came up about how we each manage our shops. Turns out that although we’re in the United States and he’s in Australia, we are both using the same job tracking software.”
During that conversation Ferguson mentioned that Edstein’s goal was to make their offices completely paperless, and that they viewed their scheduling and estimating software as key to reaching that goal. “My comment was, ‘Yes, I see it, but we are still growing into that,’” Sorg recalls. “Whether we reach that goal remains to be seen, but already there are things we do with it now that we used to do on paper.”
Classic Marble & Stone is, indeed, working towards becoming a more Green company. For example, they have been recycling their water for a number of years and much of their material scrap now gets recycled. “Used to be it went to the landfill, but now a company picks it up and recycles it,” says Sorg.
Embracing The Future
So, how does a traditional stone company with roots that go back all the way to the early 1960’s view the many changes in the industry, including automation? “We’re there in the middle of it,” Sorg says. “We have a 30,000 sq ft automated facility. We run three CNCs, a water jet and a couple of bridge saws. We fabricate all the hard surfaces: marble, granite, quartzite and quartz. We do both residential and commercial.”
“We helped invent this process of putting in granite countertops. We have made a transition from purely hand craftsmanship to melding that craftsmanship with technology. Fortunately, we have a great group of employees, which made it possible to grow with the technology. They welcome the changes and consistently embrace new advances into our industry.”
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.