Brief in counters: David Coster talks to Adam Reuvany of Bloomstones
David Coster, Director of Advanced Stone & Masonry Supplies, which sells Stain Proof and Tenax products, talks to Adam Reuvany, Sales Manager of stone wholesaler BloomStones London, which is currently settling into new premises.
Dave: Quartz, sintered stone / porcelain or natural stone?
Adam: For me, I would go all day long for natural stone. You can’t beat the depth in the colours and the way that they look. But for what’s relevant, it’s got to be quartz every day of the week because that’s what the market knows. And porcelain is coming, whether anyone likes it or not, and will be a thing that, if it isn’t already, will happen.
Dave: Are you an advocate of straight off the CNC or hand finishing?
Adam: I have worked on the tools, so I will always say that anything not finished by hand doesn’t feel right to me. But that’s because I was a mason, and the quality coming off the CNC has changed a lot since I came off the tools. The finishes now are a lot better than they used to be, so I’m probably going to say the CNC should be there if people are working in the right way.
Dave: What have you looked for in the materials that BloomStone, as a wholesaler, has chosen to offer to its customers?
Adam: Our specialised range is quartzite. I love quartzite. I like the weird and wonderful. You get colours that are a bit special. I have spent a lot of time looking into finding the right quartzites and I would say where a lot of people go wrong is that they don’t actually understand a lot about the products. They don’t know how to identify a true quartzite or distinguish it from something like a dolomite. They’re misinforming people and buying the wrong products.
Of course, we also do sell a lot of quartz. It’s the market relevant product and we sell loads of it. We sell granite and a little bit of marble, although we might do a bit more marble in the future.
And, yes, we sell porcelain. We represent ABK Stone, with matching floor tiles if needed, and we sell Prime under-surface induction hobs, which have a good place in the market once you get people to have a bit more knowledge of the product.
How do you deal with ethical sourcing?
We try to buy ethically sourced products as much as we possibly can. The problem is there’s certain parts of the supply chain where you’re never going to know really what you’re buying. You can try. You can do your best and just hope for the best really.
Are you working towards energy saving and Net Zero in 2050?
Here, literally in the last week or so we have bought an electric fork lift to help us contribute to going in the right direction.
Before that, the only relevant thing we did was bought LED lights. And I have just bought a Mitsubishi Outlander, which is a plug-in hybrid. We’re looking at ways we can improve our fleet, but what’s available is a bit limited for commercial vehicles at the moment.
You have obviously just invested in new premises, but do you have plans for further investment?
Yes, our investment at the moment is the premises we’re in. We have moved from premises that were in a pretty terrible location, being quite honest about it, although we did quite well there over the years. We have now moved on to this industrial park with businesses wrapped round us that are hopefully going to bring some passing trade.
We are investing heavily in having a show space here with a yard that is nice and open and people can come and see the stock. After that we’re getting a crane in place, so we can put more investment into our stock.
Are you doing that because it’s good for the business or because logistics demand it?
I would say a combination of both. One of the good things about the move here is that we are right on the doorstep of the M25, so logistics should, if anything, have become easier because we used to be a little bit further out. In terms of business, we have been growing year on year, so to come to somewhere bigger in a bit of a cleaner area with brighter premises is going to be nothing but a benefit to us.
Are you still suffering any fallout from Brexit or Covid?
One of the main things we noticed from Covid was how busy we got and I kind of think a lot of that’s going to fall off a bit now. I think anyone who says that they’re not seeing that workload levels have gone down a bit would probably be telling a couple of porkies. We’re far from struggling, we’re doing OK as a business – it’s going well – but it’s gone back to where it was pre-Covid, I would say.
What do you think the trends will be in the next year to 18 months as far as products are concerned?
I’m hoping we are seeing the back end of white with grey veins for a starter. I’m sick of seeing it. Anything with glitter and shimmer seems to still be a thing as well, but, again, I hope we are seeing the back end of it. That’s what I would like to see. We are seeing people going more for natural stone because they’re understanding that they’re spending a lot of money on a kitchen.
The kitchen industry theory is backwards because they go out and buy the drawers first, even though nobody’s going to walk into a kitchen and go: awf, look at your drawers! That’s why things like natural stone are having a good rise up at the moment. They offer more of a wow! factor. A lot of people now seem to understand that has to happen in their kitchen space.
You told me you plan to exhibit at the Natural Stone Show in London this year. What will you be doing for the exhibition?
Hopefully we will be able to put in something a bit special that I don’t think anyone has seen happen at the Stone Show before. We will be having… the best way I can put it is that it’s a live display, something that will get people’s taste buds fired up and get them ready for a new product we are bringing out on to the market.
To finish off, can you gaze into your crystal ball and tell me what the future is like?
In terms of business for the future we are probably in for a rough ride for the next 12-18 months, but anyone who doesn’t realise that is not keeping up with current affairs. The market is a bit volatile, which shows in the dollar exchange rate that has affected a lot of businesses. I’m hoping, though, we can just keep pushing forward from where we’re already at, getting our materials in people’s faces and trying to inspire people to do something a little bit different with their kitchens, which is something we have always encouraged people to do.
You have these nice new premises, will you be having an open day to invite people in to see them?
We haven’t fully moved in yet. Until we get the crane in we’re going to hold off from having anything in terms of an open day, but we will definitely be looking at doing something like that once we’re fully settled in here. There will be a bit of free food and alcohol, so everyone can pop along when it happens.