The relation in general between quartz-surface producers and surfacing professionals as a group has, frankly, been distant at best. Wouldn’t some changes in this make for better understanding within the industry?
DAVIS: We're very active. We've been at the kitchen show (KBIS) for many, many, many years and they combined the builders in the kitchen show. We invest $1 million a year in that show. Then we probably invest about upwards of $2 million in a lot of regional shows. We're very active in the market.
I think the thing that throws the fabricators off with us a little bit is when we started in some markets, we were really concerned about making sure we made a quality product and that we delivered a quality product. We partnered with certain fabricators that we could work together with to learn the business and learn about quality and that kind of thing, and so we had more closed markets at that time. We have much less of that today. It was more of just trying to develop a brand and quality in the channel. We've done that and we've kind of worked with the industry to do that.
But you've got to remember that when we first got in this thing, people really fought this product. They wouldn't elevate it in their offering and so we tried to find people that would elevate it so that we could get it going. The granite industry was very protective, if you will, and very hard on quartz. Our routes to market were dictated a bit by the acceptance of this product line, and quartz as a product line was almost, I don't want to say blocked, but it was restricted in who would be interested in carrying the product back in the early days. I mean, the Marble Institute did not embrace this product, so the category had to fight city hall, if you will. That put us in the early stages, in a little bit of a conflictive situation with the channel.
We've always had high regard for the fabricators. We were the first company to really go direct to fabricators, and we did that in a big way. Caesarstone ultimately did too, with Mr. Tendler, but they kind of pivoted over to that. Silestone had the connection to the fabricators through the home centers and they did a nice job of advancing that market and that's how it kind of took off.
I get befuddled that a fabricator's mad at Cambria for filing these trade-enforcement actions to protect this domestic industry when huge amounts of fabricated material are being dumped into this country and bypassing the United States fabricator. And where is MIA on that? Where is everybody on that? How is Cambria the devil when we went and asked the government to look at existing U.S. trade law and determine if it's been violated? When the government determined it was violated, it imposed a tariff, as you know, which is a trade enforcement tool.
The whole thing in the stone industry where there's a group of people trying to boycott Cambria; I sit back in our factory and, I'm like, where are these people coming from? If you think they're not going to ultimately get to you as a fabricator, then you're not paying attention because they are going to get to you. And by the way, in the resort and hotel industry, they already got to you. Those hotels and resort people that are out there fighting Cambria on this – they're out there, they're writing me letters, and they're out there with the Commerce and Trade departments – they’re fighting this thing because they're making lots of money bringing huge volumes of fabricated material into this country.
You think that they're fighting because they care about a fabricator? Really? They're getting huge margins off of subsidized material from a Communist dictatorship. That's what happened here.