Town and Country Granite offers new opportunities on a smaller scaleDave Preston opened Town & Country Granite in August
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
In the back room of a small space in the Farmington Industrial Park, somebody’s new counter top is taking shape. The long rectangle is being shaped by a large saw that spits water as it cuts through a 55-square-foot slab of granite.
For a homeowner, the sound means a fresh look for a kitchen, or perhaps the finishing touch on a new home. For Dave Preston, it’s the sound of a new business coming to life.
Preston officially launched Town & Country Granite Aug. 15 at the Dakota County Fair. His showroom and the rest of the public space in his office were still taking shape earlier this month. But in the back room, where those countertops are made, things were busy. Preston and his employees have been doing two to three kitchens per week since he opened his doors.
That’s a significantly slower pace than Preston was used to at his old job, but for now, as he gets used to the requirements of being the man in charge, it suits him just fine.
Preston used to work for a large granite fabricator that provided countertops to the likes of Lowes and Ikea. He liked the work and the products he was dealing with, but at a certain point he figured he had advanced as far as he could. Taking the next step would require going out on his own.
So, he did.
Now he’s got his small showroom space and he’s got a workshop with room to grow. Behind the building, massive slabs of stone stand on racks, waiting for that saw.
A Farmington native, Preston wanted to start his business in town. He sees a good market here. Homeowners who can’t sell are taking on projects to improve their homes. And he figures once construction picks up again he’ll be able to supply contractors in the area.
“I want to put a fence around Farmington and Lakeville and Rosemount and Cannon Falls,” Preston said.
Preston said co-workers from his old job pursued him looking for work once he left his old job. He’s got his supplies set up and he’s finding customers.
He’s also discovering how many other things go into running a business: dealing with payroll, managing an office and getting all of the little things under control to keep the business running smoothly.
“The easy part is managing these projects,” Preston said. “It’s the rest of this stuff that is more difficult.
“The hours are a little longer, there’s a lot more to think about, but I’m enjoying myself”
Preston likes working with clients to figure out what’s possible in their homes. He likes doing the planning and seeing the impact the finished project can have.
The business still isn’t at full capacity. As it’s set up now, the shop could produce enough countertops for about a kitchen a day. But it’s a good start. And Preston likes what he sees for the business’ future.
“I’m putting a lot on the line to do this,” he said. “It will be a challenge, but it’ll be a good challenge.”