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Stone in Love?
By Holly Wagner, DealerNews.com
It's cool looking an kind of cushy, dealers say. Here's how quartz can customize your showroom floor, how much it costs and what you need to do to maintain it.

Des Plaines, IL. – Welcome to the Stone Age. Not the one with cavemen, the one with man caves. People think a lot about what’s in a man cave, but not so much about what’s under it.

That’s all the people at Stonecarpet think about: providing custom flooring made from small chips of quartz suspended in epoxy resin, in any color the customer wants. The floors are durable, relatively low maintenance, completely scalable and customizable, ADA compliant, and made in the USA, the contend.

Stonecarpet is the sole U.S. and Mexico licensee for the product, which was invented in Europe. When the company started in1992, even the quartz was shipped here from overseas. But that was costly and time consuming, so the business, formerly known as Specifier Products, sourced a mine in Ohio to provide the quartz for North American floors.

"About 32 Harley-Davidson dealerships and another 50 or so dealers of other marques have Stonecarpet floors", said Mike Sexton, vice president of sales. “We’ve done millions of square feet in dealerships so far. In this country, the first motorcycle dealership we installed was in 1998.”

Sexton was on hand at Dealer Expo in Chicago to talk to people as they walked on the 1,200 sq. ft. of Stonecarpet floor for the Model Store for Millennials exhibit. While the floor at Expo was done in black and gray, Stonecarpet can be designed to the Model Store concept: creating a lifestyle environment inside a store to help retailers sell the powersports experience – a rocky trail for ATVs, asure blue waves under a PWC, or even a faux blacktop leading through a street model lineup.

Popular with dealers is the ability to cast custom logos matched to dealer and OEM specifications for color and design. Not only do customers at shops like Crossroads Powersports and Libertyville Harley-Davidson see the store name in neon over the door, it’s right under their feet as they walk in.

“All the logos are pre-orderd so they come onsite,per order, in metal outlines, then we ‘stone in’ the colors,” Sexton said. Reportedly, installation is a speedy process but the material takes time to cure. “We do a lot of renovation work so our guys can install 6,0000 to 8,000 sq. ft. per day. There is a speed to the installation which is unlike other floors.” Stonecarpet is ready to walk on in 24 hours and fully cured in a week.

Although the company hasn’t won pre-approval from any vehicle manufacturers yet, ti’s working with them to get a spec authorized. Yamaha is closest to approving it as a recommended flooring, Sexton said.

Maintenance

The flooring weighs 3 lbs. per square foot,so it’s suitable for upper as well as lower floors, Sexton said. And for a dealer, it can reduce the hours put into daily maintenance. “Tile has to be swept and mopped daily, depending on what kind of tile they put in,” Sexton said. Stonecarpet should be vacuumed daily and steam-cleaned once a year, and then resealed with epoxy every five years, which costs about 70¢ a square foot.

“Our ratio of epoxy to stone is much higher than competitors. That’s what gives it the viscosity to hold up long terms,” Sexton explained.

Cost

Stonecarpet costs about $7.50 per sq. ft. installed, which may sound a little steep at first.

“The initial charge is a shocker. But you amortize it over 10 years and it’s the cheapest product out there because there’s low maintenance,” said Dile Brown,owner of Knoxville Harley-Davidson, who has had 7,600 sq. ft. of Stonecarpet installed there since 2005 and is planning to lay down another 8,000 to 15,000 sq. ft. at his new Honda of Knoxville store in May. Besides the low maintenance, Brown likes the fact that it’s easy to match Stonecarpet if a repair is needed, although he says he’s never needed one.
“The customers like the looks of it,”
Brown said. “My employees rally like it because usually when you are standing on concrete or carpet or tiles, you have to have those rubber mats to stand on to make them comfortable. Not with Stonecarpet.”

Brown didn’t consult the OEM before installing Stonecarpet. “I just did it. I haven’t gotten any flak back, in fact, the all like it. It’s better than carpet and tile. Tile shows too much dirt and it too easily shows wear and tear. Carpet wears out, plus it takes constant maintenance,” he replied. “With the Stonecarpet all you do is run a broom across the surface, once a month take a vacuum and get the dirt up, and once a year steam-clean it. Crews do that overnight.”

“We’ve had it here since 2002,and again in early 2006 for a remodel,” said Mike La Reshce, dealer principal at Superstition Harley-Davidson in Apache Junction, Arizona. “Just like the motorcycles, it’s very customizable and you can do whatever you want to do.”

Lynn Nathan had the Powersports East logo set into her Stonecarpet. She also loves the sound-dampening effect. “We put it down in 2006. It’s the quietest thing. It’s like a carpet. It’s really wonderful,” she said. “If I could afford to put it in another building, I would. It just brings the dealership to a whole other level. It’s like going from a used car dealership to a Lexus showroom.”

Call Stonecarpet today and make your floor a work of art!