Remaining on the cutting edge of automation and technology.
When Paul Menninger felt unsatisfied with the quality of work and craftsmanship in the countertop industry, he decided to take matters into his own hands, building his own shop which still, today, operates on a philosophy of customer satisfaction first.
Before starting Capitol Granite and Marble in 2002, Paul Menninger was a woodworker who had spent time in the corporate world as a sales engineer and then sales manager. As a woodworker he built furniture and cabinets and utilized those skills and techniques to flip houses.
His catalyst for entering the stone industry developed while he was doing work on his own personal residence. Menninger was upgrading his own kitchen, having made all of the cabinetry himself, and when looking for an individual to fabricate and install granite countertops, he found himself feeling very disappointed with his experience. He ultimately decided to offer those needs to the market himself.
“I figured if I bought into technology I could put out a top-quality product,” said Menninger. “I knew I would also need to focus on customer service, so I made it a priority. I saw it as a unique business opportunity to get into the ground floor of automation in an industry that is otherwise screaming for it.”
There were four or five employees in the beginning of the business including Menninger, his wife, one other fabricator and a couple extra sets of hands. The first location of Capitol Granite and Marble was a rented 5,000-sq.-ft. facility.
“My first facility was, at the time, enormous,” remembers Menninger, who filled the space with three different machines from Park Industries—a single-head edger, a bridge saw and a manual overhead pin router—to get it all started. By the end of the first year, Menninger’s business was putting out three projects a week. The first material Menninger worked with in his facility was granite. He started out by selling his service and product direct to homeowners and builder businesses, which is how he continues to build business today, largely through word-of-mouth.
Moving On Up
Today, Capitol Granite and Marble employs 70 workers and runs two shifts out of its 27,000-sq.-ft. facility. Of the 70 employees working for Menninger, only 11 employees per shift work on the actual fabrication end, going through an estimated 25 slabs a day.
In addition to a growing staff and a larger facility, Capitol also works with marble and added quartz surfacing to its lineup in the fall of 2005. Now being the area’s Silestone distributor, quartz surfacing accounts for about 25 percent of the company’s business.
“I got involved in quartz because I saw the writing on the wall … and if you follow the trends of the major metropolitan markets and read [the research reports] you know that [quartz] is an up-and-coming product.” His natural progression pointed him to Silestone because they command most of the market share within the United States.