By ANDREW WAREING
For Granite Tops Inc., there was a whole market within three to six hour’s drive and a chance to grow. The question was how to tap into it.
John Hakala, manager of sales and marketing for Granite Tops Inc. in Thunder Bay, which fabricates high-end granite counter tops and other products, attended a trade show in Duluth, Minn. three years ago which showed the company the potential for growth in the Minnesota market. However, how to maximize that potential required a plan.
Working with the Business Development Bank of Canada, last year the company invested $25,000 in a strategic plan that identified the growth rate in the granite counter top market in Minneapolis was about eight to 12 per cent annually until at least 2007.
“The strategic plan was finished last September and we’ve been able to pick up a few extra contracts with that. We’ve also just entered into negotiations with the Menards chain to supply all their stores with granite tops,” he says. “That could represent at minimum $42 million per year in sales.”