Lakeside Surfaces: Focusing on quality and customer service

Robo saw jet from Baca Systems of Auburn Hills, MI

Lakeside Surfaces Muskegon, MI

Rob Riegler, founder of Lakeside Surfaces, wanted to offer his customers an experience that they were not able to get anywhere else.

Lakeside Surfaces of Muskegon, MI, runs a full-scale fabrication plant, which includes a Robo saw jet from Baca Systems of Auburn Hills, MI.

Established in 1992 and located along the east side of Lake Michigan, Lakeside Surfaces is one of the largest fabricators of surfacing products in the Midwest. The company, located in Muskegon, MI, was founded by its current president, Rob Riegler, who began as a certified Corian fabricator. “He originally started in his garage and he quickly grew into a little warehouse down the street,” said Ray Schelhas, director of marketing for Lakeside Surfaces. “Rob focused on quality while his competitors didn’t; also customer service was really important to him. Because of those two things, he was able to grow quickly. Rob was among the first people in Michigan to aggressively pursue quartz fabrication. Fast forward to now, we have approximately 150 employees in five locations. Those original ideals are still holding up to be extremely important to our customers and business partners.”

Established in 1992 and located along the east side of Lake Michigan, Lakeside Surfaces is one of the largest fabricators of surfacing products in the Midwest. The company houses three CNC stoneworking centers — equipped with vacuum pods from Blick Industries — to assist in its production process.

Because of that dedication to exploring new surfaces and focusing first on the customer, Riegler was able to weather the recession storm and continue to expand his company. “Staying true to those ideals and not compromising is what got Lakeside through those rougher years,” said Schelhas. “I think those values and that approach lets us know that not only could we weather that storm, but gives us confidence in the future to never compromise quality for the sake of price. We want to make sure that our customers receive the highest value experience.”

The expansive size of the company’s production facility gives it the capability to produce 300 to 400 kitchens a week, depending on the complexity of the job.

Currently, the company focuses on using Cambria quartz products, as well as solid surfaces for non-stone applications. The production capacity for Cambria is approximately 3,000 square feet per day between their two manufacturing plants over three shifts. The company also has smaller distribution facilities and an amazing design gallery. The new facility has seven CNC machines, while the secondary plant has two CNC machines, all of them equipped with vacuum pods from Blick Industries, located in Laguna Beach, CA. The facility also features a Robo saw jet from Baca Systems, located in Auburn Hills, MI.

A water treatment plant is in place at the company’s facility to recycle its water.

The company uses Diamut tooling supplied by Granite City Tool Co. of Waite Park, MN. For its templating needs, technicians use LT-55 Laser Templators from Laser Products Industries of Romeoville, IL. Lakeside Surfaces employs a large number of installation crews that can be deployed territory wide, as needed.

Additionally, Lakeside Surfaces has a WTS water treatment system in place to recycle all of its water and it also recycles all of its extra material. “Cambria itself is also doing a tremendous amount to make certain its production facility is green and its product is green,” said Schelhas. “Here, we can focus on making our own production environmentally friendly, this way the customer knows they are getting a truly eco-friendly product.”

In addition to its production facility, Lakeside Surfaces also has a large showroom where its customers can browse material.

The company also does commercial work for healthcare buildings, food services, entertainment, airports, major league sports stadiums, auto dealerships and other markets. It also completes roughly 300 to 400 kitchens a week, depending on the complexity of the kitchens that are done. The average size of each kitchen is 35 to 50 square feet.

Lakeside Surfaces often holds meetings in its conference room to train employees — ensuring a continual high level of quality and customer service.

Lakeside Surfaces hopes to double the size of its business, again, in five years. “Our goal is to hold ourselves to the standard of the finest countertop makers in the world,” said Schelhas. “We don’t want to get complacent. We truly appreciate the work we have and the customers we have. We focus a great deal on those existing relationships and on creating new ones. We are looking to bring the Lakeside experience to new customers as often as possible. Part of that is not just being satisfied with what we have, but continuing to set greater and greater expectations. What we are working on today is not going to cut it down the road, so we are going to keep growing and keep improving. We are in a fast-paced, extremely high-performance organization, so it creates a lot of pressure, but from that we have been able to develop really great people in the organization and that’s reflected by our business relationships and the work in the field.

The showroom allows customers to view the company’s latest product offerings, which are used for numerous residential projects, as well as commercial work such as healthcare buildings, food spaces, entertainment, airports, major league sports stadiums and auto dealerships.

“We don’t just sell surfacing, we sell an experience,” Schelhas went on to say. “We have taken the time to train all our employees to act as an extension of our sales force and customer service team. Not only are they incredibly talented technicians and artisans, but they are also articulate and polite. They understand customer service and our policy and our customers know, they are working with the best.” 

This content is a feature from the Stone World.

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