When Frank and Antoinette DeLorenzo started out in business 33 years ago it all seemed so straightforward. As a recent immigrant to the United States from Italy, Frank’s experience was in the marble tile business, and that is what he pursued in his new homeland. In the mid 80’s slab granite gained in popularity and the company shifted its focus to kitchen countertops.
“We have since moved away from tile, except for some of our contractor customers who want a package deal,” says Frank’s son, Joe, who oversees technical operations for the company. “And now what I call ‘basic granite’ is gone from our market. It’s crazy, when my dad was around less than 10 years ago he wouldn’t even do engineered stone – and now we are over 50% engineered stone. It’s either quartz, exotic stones or quartzite for the kitchen areas.”
Get Out The Crystal Ball
And so the evolution continues. Now that the economy is gradually improving, trying to gauge where the Los Angeles market will go next is a bit of an exercise in gazing into the future. “It’s ridiculous how many material options are out there,” Joe says.
“We cater to the high end market with very unique stones and try to figure which way the market is going. It is very difficult to read right now because everyone wants something different. I have designers coming in everyday saying, ‘I don’t know what I want, but I don’t want granite.’ Knowing what to stock these days is very difficult.”
DeLorenzo Marble & Tile, which operates out of 16,000 sq ft facility just south of Los Angeles and employs 10 people, has always cultivated a reputation for excellence. “We define ourselves on quality, where a lot of guys sell themselves on price,” Joe explains. “When I took over nine years ago the goal was to maintain or exceed my dad’s standard of quality. It’s something we were known for – if you wanted to have it done right you came to DeLorenzo. We don’t cut any corners in our work.
Maintaining that reputation for Old World excellence while staying competitive in the crowded L.A. market requires the folks at De Lorenzo Marble & Tile to adopt new technologies as they become available.
“We are fully digital from start to finish, and that includes Moraware,” Joe explains. “We integrate all of our digital processes. It’s what helps differentiate us from the guy with the skilsaw fabricating granite in the driveway. We brought in the CNC, the saw jet, the slab polisher and templating technology. We have SlabSmith as part of the digital package. People can see what they are getting ahead of time, which is an important part of the overall package.”
Not surprisingly, with such a heavy emphasis on custom work in a mostly residential market, DeLorenzo’s marketing approach is built heavily on creating and maintaining ongoing relationships. “We spend almost nothing on advertising and marketing,” Joe says. “We get our work primarily through relationships. Contractor clients and designers seem to keep us busy. That said, we’re still waiting to see if things are coming back. One week it seems that everything has recovered, and another week, not at all. Overall, however, things seem to be getting better.”
Want to know more? At Moraware, we make software for countertop fabricators. CounterGo is countertop drawing, layout, 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.