Brief in counters: by David Coster
David Coster, the plain speaking Director of Advanced Stone & Masonry Supplies, which sells Stain Proof and Tenax sealers and glues, talks to Pete Smith, General Manager of Butterfield Natural Stone, Luton.
David: Quartz, ceramic/sintered or natural stone?
Pete: I would always prefer natural stone... however, quartz is a lot easier to cut and deal with. I’ve got ceramic at home.
David: Straight off the CNC or hand finished?
Pete: For us, straight off the CNC isn’t good enough. You always get lines in profiles or whatever, so we always finish by hand.
David: On-site, physical templates or digital?
Pete: Physical. Always. So the customer can see the physical size of the worktops. If you’re doing islands with overhangs the customer can see insitu how big it’s going to be. We work within an area we can get to and from in a day, so the templaters aren’t going all round the country.
Customers: love them or hate them?
I love our customers.
What’s going to be your next investment?
Water treatment. We have it now but it needs replacing and updating.
Net zero in 2050. Do you have a plan in place?
I think we need to be focusing on other countries, like China and Japan, rather than worrying about a cow farting in the UK.
Ethical sourcing (modern slavery). Have you done anything to address this?
We buy from larger companies and brands and they have logos on their products saying they are dealing with this. For sure we all have to put some pressure on them to keep it up.
Brexit: noticed any difference?
Whether it’s Brexit or Covid you don’t know but transport is difficult. Haulage companies are finding easier products to move around than heavy, horrible stone. It’s the same with bricks on the builders merchant side.
Covid 19: All over with the second inoculation or on-going threat?
One of our staff, her daughter got it and she was off isolating. What happens if two of our workshop staff get it? I think this is with us for a long time in some capacity.
The future: Better, worse, the same?
We’ve been flat out for 18 months and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping any time soon. People have saved lots of money on travel and socialising and are spending it on their homes and gardens. They are deciding to have their kitchen done now rather than in two years’ time. It’s the same on our builders merchant side: people are spending on landscaping.