Mars Hill business goes to

Kathy McCarty, Special to The County
18 years ago

    MARS HILL, Maine – A new business is going to the ‘extreme’ to please customers, offering service primarily by appointment only, with the owner’s workmanship put in stone.
    “I opened Extreme Granite a few weeks ago. I’m a builder by trade and had gone to New Orleans with a friend last January with plans to do construction work for the winter,” said Jeff Beaulieu, owner.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Beaulieu said individuals in the construction trades were in short supply.
“We weren’t there for long when we discovered that the granite industry had been particularly hard hit,” said Beaulieu.
Louisiana shops lost most, if not all, of their equipment to the flood, with most granite being shipped in from outside the hurricane-ravaged area.
“With delivery delays averaging four and five months, we saw a unique opportunity,” continued Beaulieu.
After convincing another friend from Presque Isle, who was living in Pennsylvania at the time – where he operated a granite countertop business – the group discussed the opportunities to be found in New Orleans.
“Near the end of February, Extreme Granite was founded in an industrial park adjacent to New Orleans International Airport,” said Beaulieu.
From its inception, Beaulieu said business was great.
“Almost too good, in fact. We added a few more people to the mix, and inside of six months we had fabricated and installed more than 180 kitchens in the area,” he said.
But the seven-day work weeks and long absences from home took their toll, said Beaulieu.
“By late fall, 2006, I decided to come back home and open a shop in Aroostook County,” he said.
Beaulieu said while the bulk of the business’s work comes from kitchen countertops, other work is done as well.
“We also fabricate vanities, bar tops, fireplace hearths and trim, as well as creating furniture tops from a wide variety of granite, engineered stone and marble. We also sell and install granite and marble floor tiles,” said Beaulieu.
Beaulieu indicated the company’s marketing strategy will be similar to what it used in Louisiana.
“Our marketing strategy will be much the same as it was in New Orleans. While we welcome business from all sources, including contractors and cabinet dealers, we also intend to advertise our products to the general public,” said Beaulieu.
Since most of the granite installed in this area comes either from downstate or Canada, Beaulieu said the business expects to enjoy a competitive advantage from being local.
“That will enable us to offer our products at considerable savings and with much quicker service than what is currently available,” said Beaulieu.
The shop is located at 22 Park Street, in Mars Hill, but Beaulieu suggested customers make an appointment, if interested in discussing products and possible jobs.
“We’re out of the shop a lot, working on different projects. The best way to reach us is by appointment. Then folks can come in and look at samples. Or I can come to their home with samples and take measurements at the same time,” said Beaulieu.
At Extreme Granite, it’s about customer convenience.
“We work with our customers and their time frames. We also offer installation and free delivery north of Bangor,” said Beaulieu. “We provide free estimates as well.”
Materials are durable and come in a variety of colors.
“We have dozens of colors to choose from, whether you’re looking for residential or commercial uses,” said Beaulieu.
Beaulieu works with sons Steve and Chris to provide quality workmanship at affordable prices.
“We’re a little different than a lot of outfits. If you do business with me, you’re doing business directly with the fabricator, which can save a significant amount of money,” said Beaulieu.
Projects are done in a timely manner.
“We have quick turnaround time. From the date of an order, stone can be installed within two to three weeks,” said Beaulieu.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 227-0665.