What began in 1971 as a family business with Peter deKok, a South African immigrant, primarily dealing in natural stone and tile, has grown into a manufacturing, distribution and retail conglomerate.
Ten years ago the company ventured into decorative concrete and polishing too. “You use the same tools and procedures whether you are dealing with stone or cement,” explains GranQuartz marketing director Ted Skaff. “It just made sense.”
With 10 stores in all, a corporate center in Atlanta and warehouse distribution from California, GranQuartz has weathered the recent economically rocky years admirably. The chain opened three stores during one of the nation’s worst economic crises in decades, all in brand new markets — first in San Jose, Calif., then in Anaheim, Calif., and Los Angeles. Other store locations include: Atlanta, Ga., Attleboro, Mass., Chicago, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, and Pompano Beach, Fla.
GranQuartz has become one of the industry’s largest distributors of tools and equipment for stone fabrication, natural stone, coatings removal, surface preparation and concrete polishing. They are aggressive in sales, marketing, purchasing, development and education.
What’s more, they utilize basic business principles. “When the economy tanked, GranQuartz tightened their belt, managed expenses, rode it and learned it,” says Skaff. “What might have taken 10 years to learn was a crash course in three years.”
Their focus now is product and education. “If a picture says a thousand words, then product displays and hands-on classes say a million,” Skaff explains. GranQuartz stores showcase the products they sell in every aspect possible, right down to stained and polished store floors.
Their class offerings are geared towards certifications, planned regionally and advertised locally at each store. In September 2012 alone they had three certifications for AmeriPolish and for installing and polishing Rapid Set TRU overlays. Longer-term class plans are being developed to open opportunity to a broader range of customers.
GranQuartz utilizes inside and outside salespeople who undergo constant training and in turn are able to instruct contractors, architects, designers, landscape designers and architects. Comprehensive catalogs are distributed in print format and available online at their website.
“The worst is behind us,” says Ted Skaff. “It’s all about growing all sectors of our industry, gradually. It took a long time to weather the storm we are emerging from. Taking time to grow and cultivate and teach our craft is essential. And many times this means working together with trade associations to benefit the industry as a whole.” Currently, Skaff is on the marketing/membership committee of the Concrete Polishing Association of America and also resides on the safety committee for the Marble Institute of America.