Recession not so rocky for Superior Stone firm

Greg Johnson has been installing masonry for 32 years. Two years ago, he opened Superior Stone, manufacturing lightweight stone products, thanks to the economic pinch in California and Arizona. "We bought out three businesses that were going out of business," Johnson said. He has his son Shaun to thank for it.

"Shaun was actually the one who found the first set of molds," Johnson said, referring to the molds used to cast manufactured stone using a proprietary concrete mix.

"I was on the Internet," Shaun Johnson said. Because he worked with his dad, he knew the ad online would interest him. "It's kind of hard to find opportunities."

The Johnsons ultimately purchased the three firms in California and Arizona.

"We got a couple of more unique styles," Greg Johnson said, "and we make it in a color that we think is more natural."

Schemes and styles

They offer four color schemes and seven different styles of stone. They offer custom coloring and, unlike some competing products, the color goes throughout the stone not only on the surface.

Because the concrete formula is so lightweight, the product is easier to install and ideal for the do-it-yourselfer, Johnson said.

They also produce a quick-fit system made in panels, which simplifies the installation even more. It can be used in areas where natural stone is impractical because of its weight.

"We have installation guides and we'll walk them through how to do it," Greg Johnson said.

Bargains grow business

Most of their business has been from the Seattle and Tacoma area, from people shopping around to get the best price.

"We are selling as a manufacturer," he said, "basically wholesale to the public."

Installation is available from Superior Stone in the Sequim area but not in Seattle.

The stone products carry a 50-year warranty and have a strength rating of more than 4,200 pounds per square inch.

Superior Stone now manufactures all its stone at its West Sequim Bay Road location.

"We're growing out of this pretty quick," Greg Johnson said.

He's happy to have a growing business in tough economic times.

Reach Sandra Frykholm at

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