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Slab Market: Tell us a little bit about your company.
Matt Anderson: My company A&M has been in the industry for over ten years and we specialize in fabrication of natural stone countertops. We are a small fabricator located in the western United States and our goal is to provide affordable granite and marble tops. As with other smaller businesses in this industry, my company never had a large inventory. We would have sample slabs of the most popular colors in our yard for customers to see. If they picked a stone to use from looking at our selection in the yard, we would have to purchase slabs for their individual project from a stone warehouse. If the customer didn’t find something attractive, then I would have to send them to a warehouse to pick from a larger selection. The price was always high because I would only be purchasing enough slabs for one project, usually only two or three at a time and we all know that buying small quantities is expensive. Another problem was that after the project was fabricated from the slab, the leftovers were pretty much not usable. They would end up in a scrap pile waiting for a small vanity order. Now by having many slabs for each color, I can place those leftover pieces with my full slabs and the small parts for a project can be cut out of the pieces from previous jobs. Also, on many occasions the slabs cracked while being transported from the warehouse to my location and I was forced to pay for new ones out of my pocket. In the end, buying single slabs from the warehouses was costly, but inevitable for a business of my size.
Slab Market: How did you find out about the Slab Market?
Matt Anderson: I was searching online for slabs of Red Dragon and Uba Tuba. Slabmarket was one of the results and the only one that showed pricing right there on the website. I turned to the internet looking for inventory because I was very frustrated with the warehouses for overpricing their product. They generate a huge profit and take advantage of companies like mine that have no other way of buying slabs. For example, if a particular type of granite costs the warehouse $5 per square foot to purchase, it is often sold for $10 a square foot or more to fabricators like me. That's a 100% mark up from the original price that I could be saving if I had direct access to an overseas quarry. Before finding Slab Market I had no access to these big quarries as my company is too small for them to send a sales representative. Even if somebody did stop by the selection was not as attractive as what Slabmarket has to offer. The first thing I noticed was that the user interface is extremely easy to navigate and it only takes a few minutes to get an order going. What really blew me away is the selection of material and the number of different quarries from all over the globe to choose from. There are quarries listed right here in the United States and as far away as Indonesia. After looking around on the website, I found out that slabmarket.com is part of Marble.com. It belongs to one of the biggest natural stone fabricators in the Northeast – All Granite and Marble Corporation. Their website is a useful source of information on natural stone with features like a 3-D Showroom and a Free Instant Estimate tool. I called to find out more about AGM and Slabmarket and learned that All Granite and Marble also started off as a small company just like mine, buying from a warehouse on a per-project basis. Over the years by acquiring knowledge of natural stone importing, they started to buy larger amounts of slabs directly from overseas quarries and over time developed key business relationships with these renowned quarries from all over the globe. By buying straight from the quarry and bypassing the wholesaler, they were able to attract clients with much lower prices and high quality material.
Slab Market: Please share your thoughts on the ordering process.
Matt Anderson: Basically, you look through the enormous selection and pick a quarry to choose your slabs from. The idea is to fill up a container with bundles of slabs (one bundle is usually 7 slabs). The bundles must all be picked out from the same quarry, but they can be of different colors. This means that I can have 7-8 different colors of stone in one container, and about 50 slabs all together! This gives me more color choices for the customer and they love it when they have a few to choose from. And if I don’t like the look of a stone in one quarry, chances are it is listed somewhere else and Slab Market conveniently pops up a tab showing other quarries with the same material.
During the selection process, Slab Market gives me the ability to pick the thickness of my material (1 ¼ inch or ¾ inch) and each stone listed has a description. The quarries have uploaded photographs of their stones so there are no surprises. After I fill up my container and place the order, I always receive a prompt phone call from a sales representative to confirm my order and the grand total. Then Slab Market sends me actual photographs of each individual bundle that I will be receiving. If my client wants a sample to see the color firsthand and feel the texture of the stone then Slab Market is able to mail me a few. From that point I wire a 50% deposit and the shipment process starts. I can sit back and relax while Slab Market processes all of the legal documents pertaining to the order. I love this part because I don't have to lift a finger while all the complicated paperwork is being handled! Slab Market takes care of the customs clearances, taxes, duty, carrier’s charges, and broker’s fees. As the shipment is being transported I receive constant updates on where it is and the estimated time of arrival. When my container gets the customs clearance, I pay the remaining balance and Slab Market arranges transportation from the harbor to my location.
Slab Market: How has Slab Market affected your company?
Matt Anderson: It definitely helped me to increase my retention rate. I have a decent selection of my own slabs which helps me be more competitive in this tough market. I know that my search for a trustworthy source of stone is finally over. I will never buy from the warehouse again as it’s simply a waste of time and money. After the first shipment my company received a lot of positive feedback on our updated selection. I truly recommend www.slabmarket.com to my friends in the industry as it is a great way to boost profits. While it is a large investment in the beginning because of the need to fill up a whole container, it is worth it in the long run because buying in bulk results in lower cost per slab of stone. My savings are huge compared to when I was buying from a local warehouse. The prices are often lower than if I was to buy from the quarry myself! That's because when a quarry sends me a sales rep to show their catalog, that sales rep must be lodged, fed, and accommodated. This adds up in the hundreds of dollars. Also the sales rep earns a large commission when he sells the material and that commission comes from my pocket in the form of a marked-up price. That's one reason why Slab Market has the lowest possible prices out there. They eliminate the need for sending a sales rep. My mind is now set on the expansion of my company; hopefully other fabricators will follow my footsteps and make the decision to use Slab Market.
Slab Market: Thank you for your time. We wish your company continued success.