Competing with quartz. Although not all solid surface manufacturers are getting on the e-stone bandwagon, some solid surface companies have been working on some very inventive offerings to better compete.
Eos, a new manufacturer of solid surface material, offers its standard sheets in 3cm thickness. Company president Evan Kruger said they are able to price it very close to other companies' '-in. sheet stock. He said the real sell with 3cm solid surface materials, though, is that no edge buildup is needed and no wood backing is required, which translates into quicker fabrication times and increased productivity.
Hudson Surfaces is reportedly looking into offering its Mystera product in 2cm or 3cm thicknesses also, but the company has already taken an interesting step to attempt to capture some of the natural stone market. Mystera is about to release seven new colors that closely mimic stone. The nondirectional-veined "Nature" line of solid surface apparently fooled many fabricators of both solid surface and stone products. According to director of marketing, Tracy Webb, the material will be available in the third quarter of this year.
Avonite is taking a different route by offering seven colors that are certified by a third-party organization to contain 40 percent recycled content. The company is filtering its leftover monomer and reusing it, and also taking scrap from the line and grinding it up to be used as particulate matter in the seven "green" colors. Not only does this mean architects can earn environmental lead points in their projects by using it, but according to David Knowles, Avonite president and CEO, "We can offer these and still make it economically sensible."
ISSFA Day at the Expo
This was a new approach for ISSFA to address the needs of fabricators. The day started with "Breakfast with the Pros." Twenty tables were set up, each having a specific topic with one or two pros at each table. Participants were treated to breakfast and could sit at any table and ask questions.
This was followed by the ISSFA general session and discussions of the new offerings planned for the coming year, including the newly launched awareness campaign.
The finale was the "Fabricating Your Way to the Top Talk Show." Several successful owners of fabrication businesses were put on the spot and asked how they got where they are today.
Tom Pinske, Gus and Dottie Blume, Michael Wilson-South, Vanessa Bates and Jon and Gayle Lancto all put their best foot forward for a sizable crowd and answered some questions designed to give insight into their success.
All of these industry long-timers on the talk show panel seemed to be doing very well, and when asked how, there were two themes that seemed to recur. First off, they all focused not only on the quantity of their work, but also the quality. And second, they all grabbed a niche to push their business forward; whether it be thermoforming, doing major work with the box stores or doing a lot of work in a relatively noncompetitive market, they all had a specialized bread-and-butter area of work.