DEARBORN, MI — After several decades in its Detroit location, the J.A. Marble Co. looked to a community a few miles west to find a bigger facility that brought it closer to many customers and opened the door to new business.

Company president Mary Marble, also a News consultant, said the move was necessitated by the growing customer base and concerns about safety.

“We were landlocked in our Detroit location,” she said. “There was simply no room to expand. I was also getting concerned about crime in the area and the unsafe neighborhood.

“I feel good about being in Dearborn. And we’ve been able to add new accounts, like the local high school.”

Marble said the process of moving took nine months, from the time her company bought the property — a 21,000-sq-ft former restaurant supply house — until her staff moved into the facility in late September. The building was gutted and remodeled with an open, airy atmosphere.

Marble acknowledged that they have more room than they need right now, and a portion of the building is subleased to another local business. But the potential for other growth makes having extra space a nice luxury.

The large shop area includes a pipe fabrication section and room for other fabricating operations. “We might explore sheet metal fabrication as another business opportunity in the future,” Marble added.

Her father, founder Jim Marble, busily welcomed guests at their recent open house, which also featured some product exhibits from local distributors.

“We invited some of our distributors because we wanted them to be part of the event,” Jim Marble said. “It gives visitors a chance to touch and feel the products.”

One of the exhibitors, Jamie Jankowski of manufacturer The Trane Company, felt an obligation to be a part of the celebration. “Our company wants to represent J.A. Marble to some of their customers,” he said. “Customers often see the J.A. Marble truck, but they aren’t familiar with the equipment inside.”

The open house featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Dearborn Mayor Michael Guido, government officials, and J.A. Marble employees. Guido made a brief speech followed by comments on the energy market by John Sarver of the Department of Consumer and Industry Services for the State of Michigan Energy Office.

Service manager Jim Shawler, who had been on the job for only two weeks, noted, “I like this company because it is family-owned, organized, and customer-service driven.”

Visitors had a chance to win prizes in a series of slot car races during the race-car themed festivities. It seems that J.A. Marble Co. is also on a fast track — to more business and more business opportunities.

Publication date: 01/14/2002