Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Customer Comments and Testimonials

April is a busy month in the stone business. Spring brings everyone outside with enthusiasm and desire to start their landscaping projects. I have seen a huge increase in the amount of activity at Stoneyard.com. Many of you are diligently working on improving your property with the use of my different stone products.

Cobblestones, pebbles, pavers and New England Fieldstone products with their durability and beauty are the most popular products that are being requested.

My building veneer and thin veneer are adorning many new structures with their bold texture and striking colors.
With all of this activity I have been getting many thoughtful comments from my customers.

Here are a few of their testimonials.

Lorie sent in the first comment. She is an existing customer, and uses my Mexican Beach Pebbles as a canvas to paint some beautiful figures.

Check out her website at
www.pbase.com/rocksbylorie to see some of her wonderful work. We have her pieces on our desk, so feel free to call us as a reference.

“You don't have to contact me, I just wanted to let you know my second order of samples arrived…the rocks inside are gorgeous! I know I must sound foolish, but each time I visit your website and look at your beautiful rocks, I feel like a kid in a candy store, lol! I only wish I was able to visit your place in person and buy your rocks to my hearts content! I can't wait to begin painting on my newest rocks! The smooth Mexican beach pebbles are a wonderful canvas! Thanks again! Lorie McLelland”

The second comment comes from a resident in one of our neighboring communities. She had a dilemma with fieldstone that was on her property. We were able to coordinate resources to remedy the situation.

“John,
I will call tomorrow to thank you but I am racing out the door right now.
The quiet prompted me to look out the window and note that… the job must be done.

…I hope someone sees value in the stuff that was so much headache and mess for us for nearly 20 years. You are tremendously good to have helped me out – not only will you remain on my list of heroes forever but I will be sure to send friends to your business and will be sure to use it myself the next time I am in the market for stone.

I hope to stop by sometime and say hello to you but do feel free to knock on the door anytime you are in my neighborhood. Here’s hoping spring has arrived for good, and that we won’t get to the steamy days of summer too quickly.”

Best regards,
Roseanne Saalfield

The final comment comes from a couple building a new home. They worked with David on stone for their fireplace. A small job, but no less rewarding.

“Hi David,
Mark and I went to our house site yesterday so were able to look at the stone. We wanted to thank you especially for the hearthstone and lintel piece. Both are excellent. The "bluestone" hearthstone has the color tones and texture that we hoped and the lintel piece is stunningly original. The mason hopes to begin work sometime this week.”

Mary and Mark O'Connor

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Let me know about your experience with Stoneyard.com. It helps me build a better buying experience for you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tumbled Bluestone – The Versatile Flagging

My tumbled bluestone paver has always been a favorite for walkways and patios because of its antique finish. When this paver is installed it looks like it has been in place for 100 years. The edges are rough and rounded giving them a look of age and beauty. Antique colonials as well as farmhouse restorations call for the tumbled paver because the product looks like it has been in place for as long as the building.

Because of the popularity of the square and rectangular paver, I figured a flagging product with the tumbled look would be just as popular.



I was wrong.

It is more popular than the pavers.

Since I started selling the tumbled bluestone flagging I have been unable to keep any pallets in my yard. Many of you don’t even know I stock the material because I wanted to have some inventory before I started promoting it. This week and next week I will be shipping six truckloads of tumbled bluestone flagging.

I have also found out that the flagging is not only being used in horizontal applications but also in vertical applications.

What does this mean?

It means that it is being used for your walkways and patios, but also being used as a stone veneer for fireplaces and facing of vintage homes. It makes a lovely veneer for all the reasons that it works as a paver. Its classic look helps create the image of long-lasting beauty that will withstand the test of time.

If you are looking for a product that has an ageless beauty you may want to consider the tumbled bluestone flagging. It is an instant classic that won’t disappoint you.

Try it and let me know how it works for you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Coverings Chicago Tradeshow Interview

Interview with David Croteau at Coverings Chicago Tradeshow

Monday, April 16, 2007

Efflorescence and Stonewalls

I spoke with a fieldstone consumer today and she had a question regarding white staining that appeared on her newly constructed stonewall. The stonewall was professionally installed over this past winter. The project started in November and was completed in March. It is a 350’ wall that is 6’ high and exposed on both sides. I call this a double-faced wall.



As you can see from the picture there are white stains that are leaching onto the face of the wall. The homeowner is concerned that there may be a problem with the workmanship or quality of the stonewall. She told me that there are many similar stonewalls in her neighborhood, and none of them have the white staining that is found on hers.

Here is the answer to this situation.

When cement is used in construction it is applied wet. This means that the Portland cement, and sand are combined with water to create a workable bonding agent that will hold the stones together. As the cement dries it hardens into a stone like texture. During the drying process the water that is in the cement makes its way to the surface and evaporates once it reaches the surface. If rain or another source of water interferes with this process, the cement will retain the water longer. This allows the water to absorb more of the minerals that are in the stone and cement. Eventually the water will make its way to the surface and evaporate. If it has a high consistency of soluble salts in it the water will leave a white powdery or crystallized residue on the surface of the stone. This white stain is called efflorescence.

With the very wet weather that we have had in March and April, the cement has taken a long time to dry. Therefore, any soluble salts and minerals in the cement and stone have found their way to the surface of the stonewall.

Can this efflorescence be removed and will it come back again?

Yes it can be removed. In this situation the chances are very good that a good cleaning with water should remove the salt residue on the stone. If the salt in the stonewall is minimal then the chances of it reoccurring are slight. If the stonewall is exposed to considerable moisture it may draw out more salt, but each time should be less than the previous. As the cement dries or cures it becomes less of a conduit for allowing water to travel through. Eventually even if there are minerals trapped in the cement and stone, any water applied to the surface of the wall will evaporate before it has the chance to absorb into the stonewall and draw out any minerals.

There are many great products on the market that eliminate efflorescence stains. Try searching the word efflorescence on the internet to find some of them. I do not sell any of these products or endorse any of them.

If you have any questions regarding this topic please feel free to e-mail me your questions at sales@stoneyard.com, and I will answer them to the best of my ability.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Preparedness and Opportunity

It may not feel like spring, but I know it is because the Red Sox are beating the Mariners 12-2 at Fenway Park. I also know it is spring because opportunity is in the air. How do I know this? Let me explain.

A motivational speaker once told me that luck is when preparedness meets opportunity, and opportunity is always available. The key is to find that opportunity. If you are prepared you will know what to do with it. In the stone business spring always brings out new ideas and thoughts of how to improve ones property. These thoughts and ideas are opportunities for you. When opportunities surface your potential customers will ask you questions. Pay attention to their questions and you will be able to sense their desire, which will allow you to capture the opportunity.

All of this sounds good, but you are asking where are you going to find this opportunity. I will give you 700,000 chances to capture the opportunity.

I have over 700,000 visitors to my website every year. These visitors are coming to Stoneyard.com because they are looking for ideas and ways to improve their properties with natural stone products. This means there is over 700,000 opportunities each year to have potential customers ask you some questions so that you can capture their opportunity.

The easiest way to get exposure on my website is to have your pictures available for my visitors. We have galleries available on the Design Center that feature work for individual companies. These companies have made the effort to take the pictures and send them to us, and now they are reaping the rewards of opportunity. You could say they are lucky, I would tell you they are prepared.

Someone once told me that you couldn’t get heat from a fireplace until you give it some wood. Once you start feeding the fireplace wood it will provide you with all the heat you need. Once you feed Stoneyard.com with pictures of your work, I will feed you all the opportunities you want.

If you want to take this opportunity to another level, let me discuss my dealer program with you. My website generates leads throughout the U.S. Right now I am getting more than 7,000 leads each month. These are customers looking to buy natural stone products. If you are a dealer I will send you the leads that come in from your area. As long as you carry the product, you will get the lead. At that point it’s up to you to take advantage of the opportunity. I will lead the horse to water, but you are going to have to get it to drink.

I’ll let you decide if you are interested in these opportunities.

I provide the product, marketing and advertising. You provide the retail location and sales expertise. Your customers provide the need.

This is a win-win-win situation.

Let me know if you are interested in finding out more about this program. I have immediate dealer openings throughout the country. Give me a call at 800-231-2200 x 14.

Who knows, you may get lucky!


Friday, April 06, 2007

Stoneyard Video Tour - Custom Fabrication Pool Coping

See how custom bluestone pool coping is created at
our natural stone fabrication shop.





Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Stoneyard.com at Residential Design and Construction Show

You’ve got another chance to meet with some of us from Stoneyard.com. My brothers David and Jerry and Nancy Wells will be exhibiting at the Residential Design and Construction show at the Seaport World Trade Center. They will be at Booth 665. David tells me that admission is free at the door. All you need to do is sign up for a workshop or event.

The show is a two-day convention and tradeshow for both design and construction professionals as well as consumers.

It is sold out for exhibitors and 10,000 attendees have purchased their tickets in advance. You will enjoy the spacious new accommodations of the trade center. Parking in the trade center or directly adjacent to it.

If you have the time in your schedule stop by and see what the show has to offer. I know we will be able to help you with your questions regarding any of our natural stone products. If you haven’t signed up for our Buyer’s Guide we can do that for you. Searches for the last 30 days have gone over 7,000 and continues to climb on a daily basis. Contractors that are listed on the guide are reporting good results from this activity. This is a tested means of generating new leads for your business.

You can also see some of the new products that we are carrying. My favorite is the new
ledgestone building veneer. This is a load bearing veneer that is 3-6 inches deep. It creates a wonderful stacked fieldstone look. Ask David to show you this product. I used it in my display column, and everyone loves the look. It is my most popular building veneer. Take a look at it. I’d love to hear what you have to say about it.

Enjoy the show.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

2007 New England Spring Flower Show

A Flower Show always brings out the best. It symbolizes the beginning or rebirth of a new season. The transformation from winter to spring is seized by the beautiful landscapes and exquisite aromas found at the New England Spring Flower Show. The fragrance from the blooming flowers, shrubs and trees reminds me of the beauty to awaken in my own backyard. The only thing that brings me more pleasure in springtime is opening day for the Red Sox.


This year’s Flower Show lived up to its billing. As I entered the Bayside Expo Center I was overwhelmed with the rich earthy bouquet of the exhibits. My senses were excited in anticipation of what I saw in front of me. If I were a dog I would have been salivating. Just as my sense of smell adjusted to the surroundings, my thoughts quickened in anticipation of where to focus first. I finally conquered the sensory overload of the many landscapes and started my tour of the exhibit hall.

I concentrated on the use of stone in the exhibits. Although I have been working with stone for the last 30 years, I am always amazed with the creative ways stone is used in the displays. I found stone being used as a table accent under some fine china and crystal.

Then almost next to this exhibit I found massive ancient looking columns constructed in a primitive arch. You might think that Moses led his tribe to the Promised Land traveling under this arch. I love the simple use of these columns combined with the abundance of green. Green is the color of spring, but it also reminds me of clean and natural products that come from nature. It makes me think of the emphasis that is now being placed on green construction. This is construction with natural products, or products made from recycled products. This is a huge advantage of natural stone. It passes all the green construction tests, and has longevity and durability on its side.

As I wandered past the self-imposed historic arch, I found many other great landscapes that featured stone. Another great match with stone is the use of water. I saw fountains, streams and fish ponds. Whenever I see these beautiful water features they are always adorned with natural stone. There was stone used as coping, steppers, steps, pebble stream beds and inconspicuous accents used to create a captivating waterfall.


The last uses of stone in landscapes that I saw were the utilitarian uses. In these uses the stone is performing a function that assists the landscape or those that use the landscape. Steps, borders and retaining walls are a few examples. The use of stone in these applications give a sturdy long-lasting solution combined with an aesthetically pleasing function. How can you find fault with a monolithic granite step, or the use of cobblestones to create a border separating ones garden from the pathway?
I hope you enjoyed these pictures. I have many more posted in my Design Center for your enjoyment. I may not have impressed upon you the entire rich splendor of the show, but I hope that I have at least wet your appetite. If you missed the Flower Show this year, mark your calendars for next year and let me know if you enjoy it as much as I do.