Stone stays in demand this winter at Buechel
By Stephen Groessel
Stephen Groessel photos
Above, a Buechel Stone Corp. production worker guides large pieces of stone moving along a conveyor belt which are being cut into smaller pieces for decorative facing purposes.
In the production area at Buechel Stone Corp. a large water cooled saw cuts thinner slices of stone from a larger piece. The sizes and shapes that are cut are determined by computer settings.

Most people would view this past winter as a harsh one, and not one suited for outdoor building projects.

Buechel Stone Corp found that not to be the case. Building projects with a demand for stone have been steady. “In winter we are usually busy building up inventory in order to have material ready for spring, but this year we have been focused on meeting the demand for current orders,” said Mike Buechel of Buechel Stone. “It is the first winter in some time that masons are tenting-in their projects and heating them. This tells us that the building industry is on a good pace. Home builders and general contractors usually say, “Let’s wait until spring’” but that has not been the case. The housing market is also active in most Canadian markets, and warmer climates continue to be a strong area for us too.

Meeting the demand

To keep up with the demand, Buechel Stone recently purchased a new saw from an Italian firm that has the capability to cut complex shapes and dimensions. “When it comes to stone, they know what they are doing over there,” said Buechel. The installation of the new saw and the training was provided by the Italian firm. In the next couple of months we will be getting two more pieces of equipment to help with production needs in our Natural Thin Veneer department, stated Buechel. Currently the firm employs approximately 85 production employees, and is currently recruiting new employees to meet their customer’s stone needs.

Buechel Stone has added something new to their extensive list of products. They are now crushing their stone cutoffs and scraps into gravel. The gravel produced is all sizes, from road grade gravel to limestone screenings, which is often used for patios, bike trails and walking paths. The gravel is available in small or large quantities.

Utilizing Natural Stone on the interior of homes and commercial projects is now very common. Focal walls using stone from floor to ceiling are a current trend, other common interior areas where stone is being applied are fireplaces, backsplashes, shower walls, floors and counter tops. Buechel referenced a winery in California which built a 70 foot long bar made of stone that is used for wine tasting events. A new bowling center in Virginia made extensive use of stone on both the interior and exterior of their building. We receive orders from artists and stone carvers also. Each year, a client from Alabama visits the quarry and selects different stone materials that he uses to carve decorative bowls and other art pieces.

This year, Buechel Stone has designed a new 68-page catalog which displays all of their products in one piece of literature. They are also taking advantage of social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. Current and potential clients are able to view all of Buechel Stone’s products and access hundreds of photos showing the products they like in varying applications. Visitors to their Web site can also download a custom app called StoneCalc which will calculate the amount of stone and related materials they will need to complete their project.

For more information on Buechel Stone’s natural Building Stone, Landscape Stone or Cut Stone, visit www.buechelstone.com.