October 26, 2004 > Blood is thicker than marble...
Blood is thicker than marble...
Mike McDaniel, owner of Tri-City Marble, runs a successful business with the help of some very faithful employees - his family. For the past 15 years, they have been serving homeowners and contractors of the Tri-Cities with high marks for quality and workmanship. Visits to Tri-City Marble is a family affair; Mike, his wife Bonnie, daughter Tina, son Mike "Bubba," brother David and nieces Veronica and Annette run the business. At times, even the younger generation can be found at the office - in a special playroom corner of the showroom.
Located in Newark, Tri-City Marble's showroom is open to the public as well as contractors. The business manufactures cultured materials of Marble, Onyx, Granitex and Storm, materials that are nearly identical to the real thing but with significant advantages. These materials are especially useful when planning installations in the bathroom and can be used for bathtubs, vanity tops, seats, steps, ceilings and soap dishes. With the ability to install spa systems, Tri-City Marble can create the bathroom of your dreams.
The business started in 1979 when David and his grandfather purchased Fremont Marble in the Warm Springs District. David managed Tri-City Marble but as time wore on, decided to concentrate solely on his contracting business. At the time, his mother, Lenora, was out of work and offered to take over the business. "You want it, you can have it," was her son's reply.
The McDaniel businesses were not just a means to make money but something more personal. David explained that the businesses began because "I promised my grandmother that I would help all the grandkids that wanted to go into business."
David's brother Mike worked with him as a carpenter, but the two would often find themselves back at Tri-City Marble in the evenings and on the weekends doing odd jobs for their mother. Mike decided he wanted to be a part of the family marble business full-time. "It's been history since then," said David.
Mike went to work for his mother, and she eventually gave him half the business. In 1997, he bought out his mother's half of the company and became the sole proprietor. Today, David continues to help out at the family business and has stayed true to the promise he made to his grandmother years ago.
On any given day, most of the McDaniel clan can be found working at Tri-City Marble. The McDaniels' do it all, whether manufacturing, installing, manning the showroom or working in the office, this hard-working family is involved in making Tri-City Marble successful.
Tina, Mike and Bonnie's daughter, has her hands full in the bustling office but there was a time when she wasn't sure that the family business was for her. "I had done this since '97 and then last year I took a sabbatical. It's kind of hard working with family and then you go home with them, you see them on the weekends, then on holidays. It got a little tough and this is the only job I had done. I took a year off and did some other work and when I came back this is exactly where I wanted to be. It's the people. It's the experience. Everything is always different. It's something I've grown to enjoy. I sat at a desk and did the same thing in a different environment and I was just bored," said Tina on the benefits of working in a family business.
Tri-City Marble is at the center of the McDaniel family including the young children that will one day be on the payroll. At 2:30 each weekday afternoon, Tina and her cousin, Annette, pick up their kids from school and bring them back to the office where they have their own playroom waiting for them. When Tina and her brother, Bubba, were young and school was out or on vacation break, they, too, would spend their free time at the family business.
"One of my greatest memories is of this big black gate where they kept the machinery. Each panel of the gate must have been six-feet wide. My brother would get on one end and I would get on the opposite end, facing each other. We would jump on the gate and swing back and forth, like monkeys. It's just something our family has done," said Tina.
Tina's soon-to-be husband, an electrician, can also be found working at the family business, and, someday, Tina says, he will be totally involved too. Tina notes that her son Anthony, an only child, declares that he is next in line to work at Tri-City Marble. "My son plans to be the president of Tri-City Marble," Tina declares. With the whole family working at Tri-City Marble there is a camaraderie that creates a strong work ethic.
Although there is a standard recipe for cultured material made at Tri-City Marble, each piece is unique. Some pieces are made with custom swirls, depending on how the mixture is stirred. These materials can be a stylish and practical addition to any bathroom. "Basically, anything in the bathroom - we have a mold for it," Tina explains. Whether it is a vanity top, shower panels or the bathtub, Tri-City Marble can make it.
The process takes about a week from start to finish. First, the paperwork has to make it to the trained professionals working in the backroom; "the boys" as Tina calls them. Once a molding is selected, they spray the material with a gel-coat finish protectant. Then it goes to the pouring department where the material is laid out and cured. "The boys" will then buff, polish, and make any adjustments necessary to the material. The detailing is the lengthiest part of the process as sometimes three or four days may be spent on one section making sure it is up to the high standards of Tri-City Marble.
"Like fingerprints, they're never the same," said Tina of the one-of-a-kind slabs that are produced.
"We can be everything from just the supplier of the material to the remodeling contractor. We can tear everything out and put it back together for you with inspections and everything," said Tina of the businesses versatility.
There are numerous advantages to the manufactured material that Tri-City Marble produces. It is less expensive than natural stone and much easier to work with. Not porous like natural stone, the manufactured material is sealed with a gel-coat, making it easier to clean. Tri-City Marble specializes in bathrooms, and it is important to note that soap scum cannot cling to these products as it would to tile. Another plus for the cultured slabs is that the more you wax it, the shinier it gets.
There are four different cultured materials to choose from at Tri-City Marble: Marble, Onyx, Storm, and Granitex. The manufactured materials are much lighter than their natural counterparts and much easier to install.
Tri-City Marble is the only manufacturer of this material in the Tri-Cities. Let Tri-City Marble show you how to make your bathroom shine!
6756 Central Ave., Newark