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 is exactly how we got started in this business. Some things simply must be hand finished, while the majority of production is more efficiently processed by machinery, with better results. It’s funny how these same shops reverse their statement once they buy machinery themselves.
If you’ve ever been to our fabrication facility, you’ve seen the staggering amount of technology and automation we use for processing stone. What you may not see, while in plain sight, are the years of true stone craftsmanship working simultaneously among this maze of machinery.
This fact became quite evident this week as we hosted fabricators from the US and Canada, at a workshop for the Stone Fabricators Alliance held in our Liberty Lake plant.
In the spirit of pure craftsmanship, the SFA has been conducting “Fabricator Olympics” at workshops around the country. These games generally consist of grinding and polishing edges and surfaces in a timed contest, old school style. The winner from each workshop receives airfare and hotel costs to compete in Miami this October for the finals, courtesy of the SFA.
Cliff Ellenwood and Salvador “Chava” Resendiz, long time craftsmen of ours, more like family actually, stepped up to represent Mario & Son and the Pacific Northwest, eventually taking 1st and 2nd place respectively, by a slim margin of only two points between them.
Cliff’s victory is a testament to his determination to get his life back on track, after some major obstacles a few years ago. Cliff is now a pillar of health and has a home of his own which he shares with his lovely new wife Carrie. In addition to being a solid and valued employee of our company for well over a decade now, he finds time to mentor kids at the local YMCA in between his busy work schedule.
Both Cliff and Chava made us proud, not only for the craftsmen they are, but for the gentlemen and role models they continue to be day in and day out.
“Machines? We don’t need no stinkin’ machines!” Said no serious stone shop, ever.