Monday, June 11, 2012

Stone Coat -- The Original Blown Limestone

Consumer Beware- June 11, 2012 Addison, TX-- I recently saw an innovative product in the building industry that I found intriguing.  It is an all natural, green stone product that can be "blown onto almost any surface".  I found it while looking to resurface one of the real estate projects I own. It is real stone and is a lightweight substitute for more traditional heavy quarried and cut stone.   The company is StoneCoat, and their product is called “Blown Stone”. 
I was so pleased with how the project turned out I asked for an interview with Stone Coat President, Ken Morrison. I always do my home work on companies I interview. I discovered that Stone Coat not only is the manufacturer of the product and the only domestic source in the United States for this product, (I talked to the raw lime stone supplier). This includes proprietary product formulations, intellectual property, etc.
 Interestingly enough the Stone Coat product has been used for hundreds if not a thousand years in Europe but is a fairly new product and process here in the US.  "You must have the special hydraulic limestone to make it work" Morrison said "and although there are huge limestone deposits in the United States, there are no quarries in the United States or North America that have the hydraulic limestone.   We are the only company who has this special and original formulation using the imported Limestone".   When asked about a few others claiming to be installing “Blown Stone” Morrison simply said, “Well, there are a few out there that are trying to imitate what we are doing, but I don’t know what they are installing or telling people they are installing. I can tell you that it isn’t the same hydraulic limestone that has been used and tested over time and years in Europe.  Stone Coat owns all the rights to it and is the exclusive domestic supplier of the product and importing this special limestone where it is naturally quarried overseas.”  

The question then rises, “What material are the other companies installing if they can’t even get the same raw materials?” 

When investigating the subject I found only one company claiming to have a product similiar to StoneCoat.   Besides finding pictures on thier website and promotional material of projects that StoneCoat had done that they were taking credit for, I found that other company to have a questionable and somewhat sordid history in starting similar companies, then closing them and then re-opening in another “blown stone” type of company.  I also found a similar pattern in opening and bankrupting other companies in other unrelated types of products and subsequently finding themselves riddled with lawsuits along the way. I was unable to identify the physical make-up of the product as their salesperson claimed to be currently “shooting blown limestone”.
Another source reported it to be a new product they developed within the past few months which is far different than what they were “shooting” before. I am not sure that I (nor any of my readers) would want their home to be the "guinea pig" for that one. If they are excited about the new product one would think they would be excited to tell people it is a new product instead of portraying their new product as the old product.

Similarly, I spoke with Brian Rizzo of ICE Cables in Los Angeles, CA. Rizzo has been known as an industry leader for innovative packaging and superior material developments included at no additional charge to the customer.  Rizzo comments, “When copper prices went through the roof a couple years ago we were forced to raise prices to reflect our rising raw materials pricing. Some of our competitors mysteriously didn’t raise their prices commensurate with the rising raw material price increases. It was time to investigate.”

An independent team was called in to get to the bottom of the issue. Either ICE Cables was paying too much for copper, or there had to be something physically different. When the team measured and weighed some of the competitor’s wire they found it was lighter in weight than the minimum standard allowed by industry governance. The competitors continued to advertise their wire as meeting the industry standards.

Neither Morrison nor Rizzo shared the names of their “competitors” that were not playing by the rules and held a very professional air and presence.  In the end, it is the consumer that pays the price for what they perceive to be a “good deal”. My advice to the consumers continues to be, “Do your homework”. Take a few minutes to research before making a significant purchase. You will be glad you did.  

Information about Stone Coat can be found at: http://www.stonecoat.com972-380-2700. There is no reference given herein to the identity of the competitors to the entities listed herein. 59809 Sadler 049843 Sadler  

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