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Stone World Interview Let You Be More Clear of Your Stone Trade

Updated:2013-01-23 11:31:07
Realize the newest tendency is one of the important jobs for the businessmen who are engaged in the international stone trade, as well as the important speech from the influential papers, magazine and so on. Well, let’s look at this exclusive Stone World interview from Artisan Group Executive Director Chad Seiders, who shares some insight on stone industry market conditions now.
What are you seeing in today’s market? Is there a quantifiable uptick?
I would say in general, there is an uptick occurring in the stone industry. Of course, we thought the same thing last year around this time, but in hindsight, a lot of last year’s demand was driven by the new home buyers’ credit. This gave us a sense of false confidence last May and June, and we saw a hangover when the federal subsidy expired. This time, the demand feels real. Consumer confidence is building back slowly, with the stock market rebounding, and we still have record-low interest rates. The best news of all — for anyone in our industry — is that granite countertops are still in fashion. We would all have to find different jobs and industries if people no longer wanted granite countertops.  

Are there certain markets or regions of the U.S. and Canada that seem to be improving better than others? Are there any regions that are flat or declining?
The markets that are doing best these days are the ones that were not overbuilt with new home inventory during the sub-prime fueled years. Markets like Las Vegas, Phoenix, Southern California and South Florida are still suffering, and fabricators and distributors in those markets are fighting it out for the few countertops being installed. Whereas, re-model markets that did not have land for new home construction build-out have rebounded recently as consumer confidence has picked up.  

What about price? Are fabricators and suppliers working on lower margins these days?
In talking to fabricators in Artisan Group, it seems that in 2009 and 2010, offering the lowest price was the number one priority to getting work, and there was a race to the bottom. Now that the dust has settled a bit, quality and customer service are becoming more important than being the absolute lowest price. But it varies quite a bit by market.
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