Photo: Pictured from left are David, Amanda and Mark Johnson in the Natural Stone & Design, LLC showroom located at 311 E. Main St. (Photo contributed by Natural Stone & Design)
Family opens showroom on Main
by Kelly Augustine, Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce
Bringing a second business location to Nacogdoches may not have been included in the original plans Mark and Amanda Johnson laid out for their business when it started in Shreveport in 1998. But 22 years later, the owners of Natural Stone & Design, LLC found the right place to showcase high-quality products and craftsmanship on the brick streets in the Oldest Town in Texas.
In the ’80s, Mark was working for a company and overseeing stonework in residential settings, something that he enjoyed and continues to do. However, when the “casino building boom” hit in Shreveport, the company dropped the residential work and had him involved only with the major casino construction projects. As supervisor for the company, Mark found himself contemplating a choice for his career. “I had to decide if I was content with where I was, or if I should go out on my own,” he said.
Making the decision to start up their own business required Mark and Amanda to dedicate themselves to every aspect of the operation, and everyone was involved - even son David, who as a toddler was tagging along with Amanda while she visited clients. He is a perfect example of how growing up in the business can lead to running the business. Amanda said the deciding factor for opening the Nacogdoches showroom was “our son graduated from college, making it the perfect time to include him in the business.”
Natural Stone & Design offers a variety of products for new construction and remodeling. Mark handcrafts pieces using materials that include stone, marble, granite, mosaic and floor tiles that are both handcrafted and mass made as well as natural and manmade quartz products.
“We keep on top of design trends, not just in the industry, but for different areas,” Amanda said. “We will work with contractors, interior designers and directly with clients, too. We take jobs of all sizes, because when you are self-employed, there is no job too small!” Mark added, “I’ve installed waterfalls in homes, hung granite in homes as art, fabricated and shipped limestone to Japan and probably the most unusual job was building a piece of art in a client’s front yard.”
Building trust with clients has kept the business growing and expanding into job sites located in states throughout the nation.
“We will not install anything in someone’s home that we would not have in ours,” Amanda said. “Mark hand selects every piece that he installs. Even if the client has selected a slab that they like, he inspects it before it is used.”
David explained that Natural Stone & Design carries brands that were not previously available in Nacogdoches. “We like to showcase a variety of product, and we can meet high-end expectations. It’s a real art, and we consider every job as unique,” Mark said.
The showroom that occupies the entire space that was formerly the home of Twigs & Tin at 311 E. Main St. is filled with displays of the large selection of materials as well as inspiring examples of the handcrafted options the Johnsons can create. The business’s fabrication shop is located in Shreveport, and Mark said he hopes to open another in Nacogdoches. He would like to continue to meet more professional builders in the East Texas area and to employ more here in Nacogdoches.
Find more about the business in the Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce online directory at www.Nacogdoches.org or call 936-205-3181.
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