Success comes from skill and experience, but most of all the ability to adapt and evolve with changing tastes and times. The best way to do this is with the help of industry organizations. Sharing news, comparing customer experiences, and banding together benefits everyone involved. For countertop and stone fabricators, All Slab Fabbers is just such a place. Their final workshop of 2022 recently took place in Aiken, South Carolina, and was attended by representatives from SPEEDlabel® who had a great time from start to finish.
Ted Lambert, SPEEDlabel®’s Sales Director, recommends these sessions to anyone within the industry. “Great wisdom is shared by experienced fabricators and fab shop owners for all attending,” says Lambert. “They’re also a fantastic network opportunity. It doesn’t matter if your shop is manual, partial, or fully digital, there is valuable knowledge to gain at ASF workshops.”
All Slab Fabbers is a group of more than 11,000 members who consider themselves “a place for everything slab.” They see a future where shops are merging to meet customer needs and use sites like their Facebook group to discuss the many aspects of fabrication, CNC saws and routers, hand fabrication, granite, marble, engineered stone, porcelain, and ultra-compact slabs. They also tackle preferences like polishing pads versus high-end machines, thinset, or epoxy. No advertising is allowed on the main Facebook page but a second, open site called All Slab Fabbers Vendors allows companies to show off their wares and plug their regional services.
The October event in South Carolina was hosted by members from Affordable Quality Marble and Granite. Installing hundreds of countertops each year, AQMG hires skilled craftsmen and prides itself on maintaining its education through tradeshows and training workshops provided by the All Slab Fabbers.
Owner Chris Hildebrand opened AQMG in 2006 but has worked in granite for more than 25 years. He saw—and vowed to meet—the need for better quality, locally crafted marble and granite products in the Aiken area and prides himself on having built an amazing staff and installation team.
At the All Slab Fabbers event, there were food and drinks (including a delicious full Low Country Boil), live demonstrations, and real-time technology presentations. There was even a $1,000 broken top granite repair contest—which was “EPIC!” says Lambert—and plenty of networking. From stone repair to color matching, managing cash flow to scheduling, there was something for everyone.
The SPEEDlabel® crew attended to spread the word about the organizational benefits of their labeling system. Shops big and small can benefit from smudge- and waterproof labels which can be customized to include dimensions, edge geometry, piece count, and keep the work floor paperless. With quality control sign-off boxes, each step is reviewed and errors or miscuts become a thing of the past.
These All Slab Fabbers get-togethers are free to their members, who just cover their own travel costs. Before October’s meeting in South Carolina, in 2022 alone the group traveled to Rye, New York in July and Sacramento, California in April. 2021’s events were limited due to COVID-19 but included an in-person session in Salt Lake City, Utah last October.
Industry professionals can join the main All Slab Fabbers group on Facebook by simply answering a few questions about their company, role, and experience. While online, follow SPEEDlabel® and the ASF vendor page as well to stay up to date on the latest developments, events, activities, and product launches.
While fun, and occasionally tasty, group events like these are vital to your business’s long-term success. Indeed.com says that “Effective business networking can save you time and alleviate stress, so knowing how to use it effectively can be a powerful tool for a company’s development…Business networking can give you access to new opportunities you might not be able to find on your own [and] industries often change over time, so maintaining positive relationships with other business professionals can help you stay informed about the latest news or innovations.”
No company succeeds on its own and shops are more than just artisans and customers. Businesses rely on their skilled employees and trade group partners for support, guidance, marketing, advertising, paperwork, crafting, cleaning, shipping, installation, and remembering to make the coffee. Sign up for notifications of future All Slab Fabbers events online and don’t miss out. Who knows? You may win next year’s granite repair contest prize and be able to splurge on tickets to all of 2023’s meetings. Maybe one will be near the beach…