At a Glance
Fabricating and installing custom countertops
How has the decline in Las Vegas homebuilding impacted your company’s countertop installation work?
Sid Mackay: We went from 30–35 kitchen installations a day five years ago to 8–10 kitchens a day now. In the past, most of the installations were for new residential construction, however today residential installations are part of remodeling jobs. Las Vegas is a very isolated market where there’s not [another] large city or metro area within at least two hours.
You mentioned August 2006 was the company’s first down month. What adjustments has the company made since?
SM: We do things today that we wouldn’t have done five years ago, like going into a project at 10 p.m. to install countertops. Because of our current margins, we won’t go down on prices. As a result, we only get about 25 percent of the commercial work we bid. We also have to walk away from a lot of jobs because of the margins, which is frustrating.
What sets Creative Countertops apart from similar companies?
SM: Our ability to produce high volume with a quick turnaround. We’re also the only fabricator of granite in Las Vegas that offers a lifetime warranty.
In 2008 the company expanded its product offerings to include laminates. How has that worked out?
SM: At the time of the move, builders wanted laminate, and in some situations we couldn’t bid on projects unless we had a laminate countertop offering. Today this part of the company is barely profitable, and it’s not a market we’re currently pursuing. I swore I’d never get into laminate.
With residential activity down, who are your current clients?
SM: Commercial [work] has picked up significantly, and it’s a big part of what we’re doing—in addition to a lot of medical work. Our largest segment of work is for home centers like Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Can you talk about recent medical projects?
SM: We finished our third Veterans Affairs clinic at the end of October. It was a two-week project where we installed quartz and solid surfaces. Each of the three VA projects was $70,000 a piece and used a lot of quartz products. A medical project we work on typically includes 20 slabs of material. The VA projects probably included 80 or 70 slabs of material. Nearly all healthcare work involves solid surfaces with no stone.
Can you describe a recent commercial job?
SM: In October we completed the finishing of a jewelry storefront at Tivoli Village shopping center. We used Gibraltar Corian for the project and completed wrapping and glazing work
What marketing efforts has the company recently pursued?
SM: We took part in the filming of an episode of Yard Crashers for the DIY network during late November. We installed a countertop that used a material called paperstone. We inlaid a second color in the shape of a surfboard within an outside countertop for the [home’s] surfing [and] beach theme. Involvement with the show was strictly a marketing effort.
What does the future hold for Creative Countertops?
SM: We don’t know what to plan for and it’s frustrating. We can’t predict things as we used to and can’t rely on specific months being good for work based on historical yearly totals. If you look at tracking charts they overlap. However sales in 2011 were up for the first time since 2006. While not up much, the sales figures are definitely a positive. ABQ