Among the hundreds of slabs of granite at his company, Joe Livorno of J.P. Stone Granite and Marble, 50 West Lincoln Ave. in South Williamsport, said educating the customer is first priority.
J.P. Stone Granite and Marble specializes in customizing slabs of granite and marble to fit the desired design for customers' homes, using a blend of computer technology and machinery to chisel out countertop features.
Each stone carries unique qualities, that, depending on the customers' desired vision, can bring out beauty, value and durability to a room, according to Livorno.
Slabs of stone, as pictured above in J.P. Stone Granite and Marble's slab yard, are brought in from all over the world, such as Italy, Africa and Brazil.
According to the company's Web site: "Granite is an igneous rock ... that at one time ... was melted like volcanic lava. Unlike lava, this melted rock never reached the surface. It remained trapped inside the earth, where it slowly cooled and crystallized. This resulted in a uniform, speckled and sometimes veined stone ranging in color from black and gray tones to pink, brown, reds, greens and whites."
Its Web site also depicts marble as something that "was once limestone, but over time, the combination of intense heat and pressure caused the limestone to re-crystallize. Foreign substances often entered the stone during this process, creating an infinite variety of colors, textures, and veining. Marble is a lot like people; no two are exactly alike."
Slabs of the stones are brought in from all over the world to the South Williamsport company, such as Italy, Africa and Brazil, Livorno said.
All the slabs are exhibited in its stone and slab yard 24 hours a day for customer perusal, Livorno said, which helps decrease the pressure of buying for customers.
Instead of making selling pitches, Livorno said he thinks it's important to educate the customer on what they're seeing and help them understand the product, which adds comfort to the customer-company relationship in a person's decision.
Livorno has familial history in the trade, as his family has owned a similar company in Philadelphia for the past 70 years, he said.
As a kid, Livorno said "he just got into it (the trade)" and was something that he just kept up with.
From that, Livorno said he credits the confidence in "knowing what we talk about" and in what they have for the success of his company, which opened about nine years ago.
"All of our information is based off the Marble Institute of America," Livorno said. "Customers hear different things from other people, but after leaving (here), they feel they have a better idea."
Livorno helps exploit the myths of granite countertops by demonstrating its resistance to scratching and burning, which is a major concern among many customers along with costs, he said.
Granite countertops are one of his biggest sellers, he said, and has been a growing trend over the years.
"Even with the so-called recession, it's been a good year," Livorno added.
Livorno also said it's a roller-coaster ride with business over the year, having busy times and slow times, but lately, he's been having a steady stream of work coming in.
For more information on J.P. Stone Granite and Marble, visit: jpstonegranite.com/index.html.