- Category: Stone People Stone People
- Published: 04 June 2012 04 June 2012
FOND DU LAC, Wis. – Axel Mendez isn’t a man for modest goals.
Although his AMC (Axel Mendez Company) of Wisconsin opened its doors only 10 years ago, by the end of this decade – or even earlier – AMC expects to be both that state’s largest fabricator and one of the leading distributors of Cosentino products in the United States.
Even the business’ location was chosen specifically to put it within an hour’s drive of Wisconsin’s key cities of Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay, although its service area extends well beyond that.
At a time when many shops are still counting their pennies due to the recession, AMC just invested in key pieces of new equipment to improve efficiency. And, while its emphasis until now has been wholesaling jobs, an expansion into the retail fabrication market is up next.
If AMC has a problem at the moment, it’s that it’s understaffed, says Carmina Mendez, AMC’s marketing manager and spokesperson.
“It’s a good pain to have,” she says. “But, we’re really excited about what’s going on with the company, and we’re really busy.”
The actual history of AMC dates back to the late 1990s, when Cosentino’s Silestone® quartz was introduced to the United States. Working for Cosentino, Mendez learned the tricks of fabrication, sales and installation from a plant it operated in Minnesota.
“Then, he was offered his own distributorship in Wisconsin, so he shopped for a place and found Fond du Lac,” says Carmina Mendez.
Along with its central location, the Fond du Lac area also has a long history in stone, with several granite and limestone quarriers located in the area.
“When Axel chose Fond du Lac, he had already taken the finances to get the machinery,” Mendez says. “We had a bridge saw from the beginning, and the CNC came right after that, so we were really prepared.”
“We’re just getting updated right now,” she says. “The Titan was installed roughly a month ago (late March) – about the same time we acquired the Pathfinder. The waterjet was installed at the end of April. The Titan and the Pathfinder are already improving efficiency, capacity and cost.”
Why buy now?
“Like everybody else, we’ve had a rough three-and-a-half years, but we’ve slowly started growing the business back,” she says. “We decided we had to get more creative and more efficient, so we got some financing and we bought those three pieces.”
Fortunately, the facility AMC opened in has given the company room to expand. Mendez explains that in 2002 the business started in one building of an industrial complex. As its neighbors’ leases have expired, it’s slowly taken over more space.
“We started in one building that had another business in it,” she explains. “When their lease was over, we extended into that. Right now, we have three buildings in the same complex. We have a warehouse-office, another warehouse for our finished product, and then the building where the fabrication is done.”
With approximately 14,000 ft² devoted to the shop alone, space isn’t an issue. However, Mendez acknowledges that the business needs more people to service the clients it has, and it’s slowly beginning a process of hiring and training to add to its current 30+ staff.
“I supervise customer service, installation and some administration,” she says. “We just have hired two more people in customer service and we’ve been adding an installer here and there. We’ve also added a sales rep because we have plans for growing more business. We’re definitely adding people.”