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New franchise offers solid option

Sat., Sept. 13, 2008

One of Earth’s oldest materials is getting a makeover.

Granite Transformations, a franchise that opened in Spokane Valley in March, offers new perspective for those who want to add natural stone in their homes.

Co-owner Lynee Jeffrey says her company receives from its Miami-based parent company large sheets of 1/4-inch thick granite-composite that is fabricated locally for installation over existing surfaces such as countertops, tub surrounds and fireplaces.

The engineered stone, which is 95 percent granite and 5 percent polymer sealant, also is available for new installation. But as Jeffrey notes, many customers are remodeling and opt for their product in part to skip the tear-out phase.

Jeffrey owns the business with her husband, Mark, and family partners Tony and Jolee Conver of Seattle. The Convers have owned a Granite Transformation franchise in Seattle for about five years, four of which Mark Jeffrey commuted from his Hauser, Idaho, home to work and learn the trade. The Spokane outlet employs six people in sales, fabrication and installation.

“We were ready to have him home,” says Lynee Jeffrey and noted the plans and opportunity to open the Inland Northwest franchise fell into place.

More than 40 varieties of the granite product, as well as styles that include recycled glass and 1-inch tile mosaics, are available for viewing at the Granite Transformations 1,200-square-foot showroom. Fabrication is done at another site in the industrial area of Spokane Valley.

Cost of the engineered stone is similar to that of commercial granite slab countertops, but owners say they believe the benefits of their product can be more attractive to customers.

In addition to eliminating removal of existing surfaces, the engineered stone is stain, scratch and heat resistant and doesn’t require the upkeep that can come with natural stone. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

While the overall price depends on amount, configuration and edge treatment, Lynee Jeffrey says a starting price for installed kitchen countertops is about $2,500. Installation typically is completed in one day.

Owners currently are preparing space in their showroom for cabinet examples, as they hope to begin offering cabinet re-facing this fall, which also is part of the franchise.

The first Granite Transformation franchise opened in 1996 in Australia and in the United States in 2001. Currently, there are outlets in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Are you opening a new business in the Spokane Valley? Is your business expanding, moving or remodeling? Are you wondering about that new store that has opened in your neighborhood? Send an e-mail to Juli Wasson or contact us by fax at 927-2175 or by writing to Business Notebook, Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley, WA 99216.


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