In May 12 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Editor
It's been about a year since local lumber sellers Bodie Emerson and Charles Emerson got into the marble vanity top business after purchasing Onyx Marble Surfaces, Inc. in Greensburg. The two then brought the company home to Russell Springs and housed it in their Emerson Manufacturing headquarters at 533 W Steve Wariner Dr.
While the business still offers various types of treated lumber, including pine, for barns, fencing, sheds and garages, like they've done for years, focus over the past year has went mostly toward marble top manufacturing after imports from outside countries hindered their furniture business the past few years.
Bodie said a partner they have in the marble business who has eighty years experience helped them to get started and from there the new task seemed like old hat.
"It is an old business but it was new to us and new here," he said. "We deal with homebuilders and cabinet shops in Russell and surrounding counties. What we do is for either new homes or remodel jobs."
He said they even do business as far away as Manchester, Hodgenville, Danville and Elizabethtown, among others.
"What we offer is cultured marble and cultured granite custom vanity tops," he said. "We also do showers as well."
Bodie said the company receives crushed stone mixed with a polyester resin which comes from a distributor in Knoxville or Nashville, then the manufacturing process begins in-house in the renovated facility with top-notch molding equipment.
"To start with we have to prepare all of our molds that we use to make the pieces, meticulous cleaning," he said. "Of course we can set anything up from a small vanity top to large pieces for shower walls and such as that."
Once the actual manufacturing process begins the finished coat is applied first, then the marble mix is added when the coat cures.
"It only takes a few hours for all of that to set up to where you can handle it and the finishing process is just another good cleaning and polishing of everything and its ready to go," he said.
Moving some of the 100-plus lb. tops can be strenuous as the awkward sizes and shapes takes quite a bit of manpower but the finished product is well worth the wait.
"We offer a whole array of colors," he said. "We're almost limitless on what we can offer. What we do is actually few as there are a few standard colors and that's it."
He said one could choose any color base with any other color swirl on the marble tops while the cultured granite is limited to just a solid color.
In moving the business here from Greensburg, the Emersons were able to keep all of their clients as well as add several new ones to the fold.
"We're branching out into areas we've never been to before," he said. "We're optimistic that things are going to keep growing if the economy will let it."
He said being in this type of business he could receive an order for 15 tops one day and then have a dry spell before another large order comes along.
"It comes in spurts," he said. "We remained steady throughout the winter and the spring is picking up."
He said with the family business being wood furniture and lumber for so long that it took some getting used to to manufacture something else in the Russell Springs landmark.
"We just completely changed the building over," he said. "It was hard to do, emotionally, because dad and his brother had been in business 55 years."
He was speaking of Emerson Manufacturing's longtime owners J.S. and Estus Emerson, who focused more on lumber and furniture building and developed many longstanding relationships locally.
But with a new age comes new business and Bodie and Charles are at the forefront and looking to establish their own local legacy, just as their elders did before them.
For more information on the continuing lumber business or the new Onyx Marble Surfaces, call Emerson Manufacturing at 270-866-3117.