It’s appropriate to say that stone has played an influential part of Scott Lardner’s life.
Lardner is president of Rocky Mountain Stone, a local company that was started by his father as a family business in 1963. He’s been an integral member of the company from the get-go, when it started as an outlet for natural building and landscaping stone, and eventually evolved into offering full service fabrication and installation of dimensional stone, water jet cutting services, quarrying operations and stone processing for residential and commercial applications.
Lardner took control of Rocky Mountain Stone in 1986 and has been president for the past 30 years. Scott’s brother Jim runs the company’s plant in Belen, and his father serves as Rocky Mountain Stone’s landlord and general consultant.
Originally from the east coast, Lardner’s father moved to Albuquerque to take flying lessons at Kirtland Air Force Base, having served during the Korean War. He later became a solid business professional, eventually getting into wholesale stone business and buying the travertine rights from the McKinley Ranch. Veneer stone was quarried for the business from the travertine quarries.
Custom countertops are now their specialty; one-of-a- kind custom stone works. In fact, Rocky Mountain Stone was only the second company in New Mexico to have a water jet cutter, an industrial tool capable of cutting a variety of materials using a high-pressure jet of water — or a mixture of water and garnet abrasive. “It was unique at the time because we could literally cut and design anything out of stone,” Lardner explains.
“We did our first granite countertop job and then that part of the business exploded,” he continues. “You don’t need to replace granite. It’s a high-end product and you usually only get to sell it once.”
Perhaps you’ve come across a completed project by Rocky Mountain Stone, as the company has done much business in the Albuquerque area. The exterior and interior stone at Sandia Resort and Casino were fabricated by the company, which also helped build Montgomery Plaza shopping center in Albuquerque. Rocky Mountain Stone’s work also adorns the Albuquerque Museum, the UNM Pit and the county courthouse in Albuquerque. “We are a part of the community and I think that’s important,” says Lardner.
In 2009, Rocky Mountain Stone earned the highly regarded accreditation of Natural Stone Institute Commercial B Contractor and Natural Stone Fabricator. “This designation confirms we are among the finest in the natural stone industry with respect to craftsmanship, safety and business practices,” explains Lardner.
About 75 percent of Rocky Mountain Stone’s referrals come from general contractors, remodel contractors, home builders and people in the community. “We’ve been at it a lot longer than the competition and we have very good systems in place that we developed,” says Lardner. “Our systems help us do things right the first time, every time. Stone is in our name. It is what we do, what we love and what we think about all the time.”
Rocky Mountain Stone uses a digital template system for field measuring their tops. The system employs a 3D laser that can create a line drawing for their projects. “We take that and import them into a layout program,” explains Lardner. “We take a calibrated photo of the granite slab and import it into the system and then do a color layout of exactly what the kitchen will look like when it’s complete.”
The final CAD drawing captures the image of the granite slab and creates a virtual drawing of customer’s future kitchen or bathroom. “Our skilled project managers can help you design the perfect stone project for your business or home,” says Lardner.
Rocky Mountain Stone can offer its customers a quick turnaround time. “It takes about five to six days to schedule an installation,” explains Lardner. “And it typically takes a day for us to install most kitchen and bath projects.”
In fact, the most time-consuming part of the process, he adds, comes from the customers trying to decide which product they like the best. Rocky Mountain Stone has a variety of options to
choose from, including porcelain, marble, soapstone, recycled glass, granite, quartz and even recycled paper countertops. Currently manmade quartz and granite are the most popular choices among customers, notes Lardner.
Rocky Mountain Stone offers a lifetime warranty of their quartz and granite products. They also sell boulders, flagstone and paving stone for customers’ landscaping needs. “The only reason we are still in business is because of our loyal customers,” says Lardner. “Customers are typically thrilled with our work.”
The company offers one-stop shopping with their all-inclusive countertop packages. “You don’t need a separate plumber, electrician or another crew member,” explains Lardner. “We have subcontractors that will do the tear-out and remove the sink, stove and backsplash. Once the counters are completed, they’ll hook up the sink again as well. It’s a turn-key offering for countertops.”
Lardner notes that Rocky Mountain Stone has installed over 1.2 million square feet of countertop since the company was founded. “Obviously, we’ve had a lot of practice,” he says.
Most of the staff at Rocky Mountain Stone have had a long history with the company, including a few employees that have been with the company for over 30 years. “The depth of experience from our fabricators, installers, and project managers is unbeatable,” says Lardner.
Rocky Mountain Stone has a history of giving back to the community. In fact, Lardner is a trustee on The Catholic Foundation, past President of the Rotary Club of Albuquerque Del Sol and a supporter of local charities. “We have always supported and continue to focus on children and education charities,” says Lardner.
Rocky Mountain Stone has contributed over $100,000 to the Alex Fund at NoonDay Ministry, an organization that helps homeless and near homeless children in the Albuquerque area. They have also given to Casa Angelica, JDRF, Special Olympics and many other local organizations.
For a free estimate, customers are encouraged to call Rocky Mountain Stone at 345-8518 or visit their showroom at 4741 Pan American Freeway NE, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. You can also visit www.rmstone.com to see their gallery of work and large selection of products.
“What Mother Nature produces is incredible,” says Lardner. “Granite is man’s oldest building material. A noble product and it lasts forever.”