Custom Specialty Stonework
In a trade inundated with automated machines where does the old school hand fabricator fit in?
This was a question I had to ask myself as I looked at where I envisioned myself and my family in the future. I knew I could never keep up with the equipment that would fabricate a whole kitchen while the employees were on their lunch break without need of a human hand. Maybe there was a place for us and our skillset in the specialty and custom market? After evaluating our strengths and weaknesses I decided to come at the stone working trade from a completely different angle.
Joshua R. Lewis
At 8 years old my first job was hand polishing the edges of pieces of marble and mitering tiles on a tile saw for my dad. He was working in Dallas, TX building fireplaces, staircases and stone floors. It was love at first site for me as I’ve spent the next 25 years eating, sleeping and dreaming stone. As I got older I was given more and more responsibility; eventually becoming sawyer, installer, and shop foreman. My dad retired in the early 2000’s and Granite Peak Stoneworks became mine with all it’s benefits and liabilities. He said: “sink or swim kid… here ya go” and the rest is chiseled in stone.
I am a licensed Independent Contractor registered with the State of Montana.
A quote from Chris Colvin
Granite Peak Stoneworks began in 1984 as a subcontractor to Shamrock Tile and Marble in Dallas, Texas. They did commercial tile, and wanted to add marble to their business- and hired me. I’d been in business too long as Chris Colvin Masonry (since 1973) to forgo the advantages of contracting for the security of wages- so we made a deal. I used to say, “Granite Peak is the tallest mountain in my home State of Montana, and we’re not in Dallas for the scenery.” Our goal was always to get back home.
In Dallas I had the reputation for being willing to put a firm price on an unusual project, and then being able to deliver the finished product for the quoted price. I did a lot of bidding for Shamrock, too. Sometimes our larger competitors would use us to give their client a competitive bid, and sometimes we’d get the job when they were too busy to want to fool with it. It worked well for everybody.
Today, the company is owned by my son, Josh Lewis. The old “bread and butter” granite countertop business is now saturated with machine-shops, and Josh wants to follow the legacy of Granite Peak Stoneworks specializing in handmade unusual projects.
The next generation
As I did my son Bailey has started at the bottom and is working his way up the ladder. The broom is always the first tool to be mastered followed by the hand sanding block and finally the water polisher. Before we know it he’ll be laying out pieces, running the bridge saw and installing. He is learning fast and can’t wait to start carrying the torch. I have to admit I can’t wait either!
The Home Show
All of those years of doing the Home Show was a lot of fun. Can you believe how young that guy behind that table looks?? I always really enjoyed working with the Flathead Home Builders Association and got to meet a bunch of great people. Some of the best relationships I have were formed by a handshake at one of those events.
This display at the Glacier International Airport was some of the best advertising Granite Peak Stoneworks ever had. The original pieces are displayed in the showroom at the shop in Martin City to show all that come up to visit us. There was many hours of labor into that 4 foot by 4 four back wall! All those shapes are hand cut, polished and laminated… by me as a matter of fact!