If you are a kitchen and bath dealer in Michigan, Indiana, or Northwest Ohio, chances are pretty good you have received a jar of pure maple syrup from your countertop fabricator.
What makes this gift even more unique is the syrup, which comes in a jar cast in the shape of a maple leaf, is made every spring on a working maple syrup farm owned and operated by that same fabricator.
“Possibly the secret to our success might be our maple syrup,” jokes Jon Blasius, one of four owners of Blasius, Inc., a family-owned countertop fabrication company located an hour and a half north of Detroit.
“We milked cows and then we cash crop farmed until 1990. The last little bit of farming we do is we make maple syrup in the spring. This year we made about 375 gallons. Each of our designer customers gets a glass bottle of syrup with the Blasius, Inc. logo laser-engraved into the front of the bottle.”
Just so you know, it takes 43 gallons of raw sap to make a single gallon of maple syrup. That means the Blasius family collected and processed 16,125 gallons of sap over a six-week period this spring. “We give most of it away,” Blasius says. “It’s not a very good business model, but we get a lot of mileage out of it with our employees and customers – and we have a lot of fun.”
No Direct Sales
The customers he refers to are primarily kitchen and bath dealers. “We have never been interested in dealing direct with the public,” he says. “Our business is located in a village of 300 people, which means we would be asking our customers to drive a long way to deal with us. Plus, I don’t want to have to train a new customer every time I make a sale.”
Blasius, Inc. is a Cambria Lexus Partner and, if not the largest fabricator in Michigan, certainly a major player. The company got its start when Jon’s dad had a small remodeling business in the mid 1970s. In 1996 Jon, his two brothers-in-law and his father incorporated the company as Blasius, Inc.
At that time there were four partners and three employees fabricating solid surface and installing ceramic tile. After two years they dropped the tile side of the business and concentrated solely on solid surface. In 2005, the company put in a stone shop. Today, hard surface (mostly quartz) accounts for 80% of the business.
“Ballpark, we are about 85 people,” Jon says. “We measure volume by the number of jobs per week. Whether it’s a 36” vanity or a full-sized kitchen, it goes down as one job. We have had quite a few weeks where we took in 120 jobs.”
The No-Hassle Countertop Experience
Jon is quite candid when listing the factors that make his company a success. “Our product mix helps,” he says.
“The product exclusivity of being a Lexus Cambria Fabricator helps. I think we have good systems in place – policies, procedures, systems – with very good people manning those systems. If there is anything our customers say about us, we hope that it is we do what we say we are going to do and we make it a simple process. They have enough details to worry about with cabinets, flooring, lighting and other components that we try to make the countertops worry free for them.”
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