Playin’ With Rocks

Joey Marcella, co-founder of Mario & Son, spent the first half of his life as a professional drummer, and the second half helping thousands of others become stone fabricators.

Follow along for an inside look at the stone shop and a peek into the world through his lens.

There and back again, part 4: Marmomacc

In the company of giants… The distant sound of church bells provides a soothing soundtrack with my morning cappuccino, until the waitress fires up the restaurant muzak, and then it’s typical “anything goes” Italian radio, an eclectic mix of disco-esque Italian and tacky American music, with the occasional off genre heavy metal song thrown in for no…
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There and back again, part 5: Antolini

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams. -Willy Wonka In the worldwide stone industry, there’s one company that’s the undisputed leader in the production, innovation, design and promotion of stone. One company to rule them all… Antolini. Antolini’s headquarters are in Verona, or more accurately Sega di Cavaion, though they also have a massive…
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There and back again, part 3: Verona

Gelato addiction… Today we leave Carrara and the Alpi Apuane and continue northeast, taking a leisurely drive through Emilia-Romagna into the Veneto. Verona’s two thousand year old amphitheater dominates the charming old section of town, as the hordes of tourists dwindle with the hint of the imminent autumn chill. Verona may be known as “The City of…
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There and back again, part 2: Carrara

That’s not snow on those mountains! Playtime’s over (kind of) as we drive north to the marble capital of the world, the quarries of Carrara. Admiring the view of the Apuan “marble mountain” from our hotel, (appropriately named Hotel Michelangelo), I’m still amazed at how they were able to quarry those ridiculously heavy blocks of stone centuries ago…
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Got Craftsmanship?

Our competitors love to throw stones. (No pun intended.) “Those Mario & Son guys have to use machines because they aren’t craftsmen.” Small shops often use that statement to hide their non-investment within their own companies. (While charging the same rates, of course.) There is absolutely nothing wrong with working stone with hand tools. That…
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You better have a good excuse

We have great employees, but it never fails, someone always calls in “sick” when you need them the most. I say sick in quotations because it seems to be synonymous with “hung over,” and always either on a Monday or Friday. Freaky. (Imagine Twilight Zone music.) My brother and business partner, Mike, along with myself, can count…
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All in the Famiglia

The jet lag is still fresh as I write about this newest adventure to southern Italy. Sicily to be exact. A little off the beaten path of the usual Carrara or Verona stone circuit, this trip had a very special agenda. I’ve seen much of the Italian mainland over the last several years, but this…
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Have you seen Junior’s grades?

If you are shopping for granite (or other natural stone), don’t be surprised if you hear shops talking about various grades of stone, such as First Quality, Commercial Grade, etc. While it is true that various grades of granite are available, the actual grading process is quite diverse and subjective between stone producers. Typically, a…
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It started with a phone call from Dr. James Harken and Jim Sullivan, board members of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. “Can I set an appointment to speak with you?” they inquired. Figuring I was about to be hit up for a donation to the museum, I agreed, as I have always supported…


In the beginning, it was never about the money. Matter of fact, we had no aspirations of starting a stone fabrication business at all. We got into the stone industry by polishing edges of marble tiles to complete our tile installations. After all, we were humble tile setters, nothing more. Those were the days of…