In North Carolina, the housing market is booming because of a strong job market, with medical, technology and software companies starting up in and relocating to the area, which is causing demand to outpace construction.
The housing market has been strong for several years, and along with new housing developments, many renovations are underway as homeowners are looking to revamp outdated kitchens, want to upgrade to more open floor plans, or install new, more modern materials into their spaces.
This opens an opportunity for stone fabricators in the market, and one in particular that has taken advantage of that is ROCKin’teriors.
ROCKin’teriors is a natural stone and modern materials fabricator in Raleigh, N.C., that has been serving the market for 15 years, and has weathered the ups and downs of the market over the years by forging unique partnerships. The company brings an extraordinary value proposition to the market: developing a sense of trust as an eco-friendly, sustainable fabrication company that offers white-glove customer service.
In addition to a variety of natural stones, the company also offers quartz surfacing from various manufacturers as well as a number of eco-friendly and emerging hard surfaces to its customers.
Recently nominated as ISFA “Fabricator of the Year,” ROCKin’teriors’ owner Laura Grandlienard built the business based on its mission of sustainability and the preservation of the beauty that Mother Nature provides. How Laura’s team implements this mission is through a family environment of trust. Her brother Omar is “The Stone Whisperer” and brings a family environment to the shop, offering good-natured ribbing, making the rest of the staff laugh and creating an easy, comfortable environment.
At the same time, the beautifully immaculate, well-designed showroom offers a guided or self-guided tour of a myriad of countertop options installed in an organic setting, with large format pieces on display in various setups. Unlike many other shops that have tower after tower of the same quartz looks from 12 different manufacturers, Grandlienard wanted to create a different environment for her clients.
“I believe in natural products that are unique in their story, and I want my clients to feel that they have bought a unique piece of Mother Nature’s bounty, not just a piece of rock,” Grandlienard explained. “If they want a white quartz, I talk them through the different material options so they truly understand it. It is important to me that customers know what their material choice is and how it performs. If they want an ornate quartzite, we love to explain and experience that slab with them, too.”
An important part of ROCKin’teriors’ path to market is direct residential sales services, but it also partners with designers, architects and contractors and can design, fabricate and install projects ranging from residential to large commercial projects and everything in-between. The company has completed high-visibility government and community projects, such as RDU International Airport and the NC State Chancellor’s Residence, as well as participated in the natural stone fabrication at The Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, all of which offer high-profile visibility.
ROCKin’teriors employs nearly 20 staff, including trusted craftsmen that the management has known throughout the years who are cross-trained in templating, fabrication and installation. Key roles, such as installation, are not outsourced to subcontractors and are instead held by salaried employees who learn every aspect of the trade. True craftsmen, the company largely uses semi-manual equipment and is a custom shop that targets the high-end luxury market. However, they are gearing up for the latest high-end, high-production machinery to more efficiently handle larger commercial projects.
Grandlienard brings a unique perspective to the industry, having spent most of her career at IBM, before she launched her stone fabrication business back in 2009. “I decided I had enough of corporate America and being a cog in the machine,” she said. “I wanted to explore a new business, in which I could appreciate the beauty of nature and apply my business acumen. I never knew how much I would enjoy the one-on-one experiences with the customers and seeing the joy in their faces when the job is complete.”
In 2015, ROCKin’teriors relocated from the southern Raleigh suburb of Fuquay-Varina to a more central location right off busy I-40 between Raleigh and Durham. The new 7,000-sq.-ft. location sports a state-of-the-art water recycling system and meets or exceeds LEED requirements in all areas of sustainability and energy efficiency, additional testaments to Grandlienard’s passion for the sanctity of nature and bringing that into a space, especially her own.
The team at ROCKin’teriors understands the commitment to the environment and they bring that into everything they do. This is evident in everything from optimizing slab layouts and minimizing waste through a diligent scrap inventory program that logs every piece of usable materials for customers that may have a small job or replacement work is needed. They also benefit from a silica and dust-free work environment, thanks to the water reclamation and sustainability programs put in place in the workshop.
Beyond partnering with her clients, Grandlienard partners with her community as well. She has worked with local suppliers to complete jobs that may not be high profile, but are important nonetheless as they allow local businesses to reuse leftover pieces of slabs and scraps to keep materials out of landfills. Century 21 in Raleigh needed a conference room table and Grandlienard worked with CaraGreen, a local building materials supplier, to repurpose a piece of IceStone for the conference room table.
“We love our partnership with ROCKin’teriors,” explained Jessica McNaughton, president of CaraGreen. “They are always willing to help us further our mission of coming up with the most sustainable uses for our materials. The IceStone table is stunning, and the classy look of the recycled glass is always getting comments and praise.”
ROCKin’teriors is also a trailblazer in the sintered surfacing space as well. Not to be confused with large-format porcelains, sintered stone is a growing segment in surfacing. Brands like Lapitec, Dekton and Neolith are expanding the variety of available properties when it comes to the hard surfacing materials in the market. Relatively new to the market, many fabricators are hesitant to jump in with both feet until the market is more mature, but that’s not the case with ROCKin’teriors. They are not only already certified to cut and fabricate the materials, but they also hosted two design-industry trade association training sessions on outdoor uses of sintered surfacing, from kitchens and outdoor barbecues, to hearth, flooring and cladding. The sintered products have expanded what can be done outdoors.
“We pulled industry thought leaders together, had large slabs of each material on-site and invited our local designers and outdoor kitchen construction partners to learn about the properties of these materials so they can create designs using these emerging materials in their next projects,” said Grandlienard of the training sessions.
With strategic partners, value-added benefits to clients and working with the local community, ROCKin’teriors is expanding the standard for fabricators in its market. The willingness to promote materials like IceStone, which do not fit the more conventional stone and quartz categories of many stone shops, as well as taking the leadership role on new materials like sintered stone, makes ROCKin’teriors both unique and successful. The continued focus on what the market brings next will be pivotal to the business, and both management and staff alike look forward to discovering all of these successes with their customers by their side.
For more information visit www.rockinteriors.com or call (919) 577-0207.
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