10 Questions With ....
Co-Founder and President
Geraci Stone Gallery Brooklyn, N.Y.
Anthony Geraci is the New York-based co-founder and president of Geraci Stone Gallery, a natural-stone distributor in Brooklyn that has curated an unmatched range of slab offerings and describes itself as a "Museum of Mother Nature's finest art." Since opening the gallery with VP Vincent Mormando and Administrative Coordinator Téa Geraci, his daughter, in May 2022, they have prided themselves in the experience they provide customers through its impressive inventory that has been inspired by Mr. Geraci's long experience working in natural stone. As Nature Curators, the space lets the beauty and emotional value of natural stone shine, aided by its team of knowledgeable and personable staff. Now, a year since its soft launch, Stone Update checked in on Mr. Geraci to see how the Gallery is doing, what changes he has seen in the industry, and whether a certain Geraci family member is still making Picks of the Month.
You’ve had the gallery open for almost a year. Is the response meeting your expectations?
GERACI: Yes, the response is meeting my expectations and then some. I’m very happy with how well we have been received, and we are very excited at how last year went for us and look forward to 2023.
Do prospective client have a good understanding about natural stone as far as appearance, availability, and properties?
GERACI: Yes, serious clients are doing their homework, and, thankfully, we have closed 98% of all serious clients. Serious clients, being those who have taken the time to make an appointment and come down with a professional, whether it be an architect, designer, or fabricator. All of these clients seem to know what direction they are headed in and are immediately taken back upon entering the gallery. Even though they have an understanding of what they are looking for, once viewing our gallery, usually they find additional or alternate options for their project. Consistently, immediate reactions are: “this place is amazing, this is the nicest stone facility we have been to, and your selection is absolutely magnificent.” With regards to clients having an understanding about properties, most people, in general, are aware of natural stone properties, namely the differences between the stones that we sell in both color and qualities, whether it be marble, quartzite, granite, or even quartz. We continue to educate our clients on the limitations of certain materials over others, meaning that marble is more porous and can scratch easier than quartzite, granite, or quartz, in general. With regards to the second part of the question of availability: the past year’s supply chain issues have helped people digest the fact that they may wait longer for certain products for their home more than others. In general, depending on the size of the project, the gallery has helped open their eyes to what is available now, and what can be ordered quickly through our extensive overseas inventories as well.
Is the main desire still for the white-marble look?
GERACI: Not surprisingly, yes. However, it is still important to offer clients a wide variety of materials, and it seems to me that many designers and architects are steering their clients in more creative directions, whether they be teal colors, pink colors, or even grays. For the most part, though, whites have remained our go-to color from day one. To add to the question, surprisingly – or maybe not so surprisingly – the majority of business in our first year has steered towards natural marbles versus man-made quartzes.
What other trends are you noticing as far as color and style?
GERACI: As I mentioned before, our business seems to be shifting away from quartz and they are appreciative of the high-quality marble that we are offering. While I cannot speak for other competitors around the United States, for our gallery, the go-to choice has been high-end marbles.
What are three common misconceptions about natural stone from clients?
GERACI: If we focus on something like marble, the common misconception is that they all stain and they all etch. These issues have been becoming ones of the past, thanks to Azerocare by Antolini. We have slowly been increasing our inventory of stones with this technology and their newer technology, Azerocareplus, which caters to matte finishing and leather finishing stones and offers a 48-hour warranty on staining and etching, while still offering Azerocare for all of our polished materials. Another common question that I get asked from customers is “can I cut on it?” My response is that even though a stone like a quartzite is durable and will not scratch on normal usage, there is always a chance of something happening when you try to cut directly on natural stone, so I would not recommend it. The third misconception that we run into is that natural stone is more expensive than quartz. The truth of the matter is that, relatively, it’s not, especially when choosing materials like we are choosing materials – which is to say choosing the very best quality over a wide range of price points. There’s a stone for all applications and typically price between the two is not a factor.
You can offer excellent one-on-one education about natural stone with clients. What do you think should be done for informing the architectural and design community at large?
GERACI: What we have chosen to do is offer complete transparency in what we have on display in our gallery. We opt to show each item clearly without overlapping slabs on one frame to another. We have offered individual photos of each slab on the rack and avoid stacking materials on top of one another, and we have taken the extra step to offer a gallery price on every slab. This ensures that each client has a benchmark on where they are, budget-wise when they immediately walk in the door and view their first selection. Another great property of our gallery is that the space is unique in its ability to transform into a place to host industry events. We find it is a peaceful place to come, be comfortable, and have our clients’ clients, whether it be kitchen and bath, or architectural resources host their own events. Come, be comfortable, and absorb nature’s art as we see it on our procurement trips overseas, and, ultimately, leave with complete satisfaction.
Are you seeing inroads into the premium-surfaces market by manmade materials?
GERACI: Yes, only because others in the market, that I am aware of, are not offering the anti-fingerprint matte finish solutions that we do in a color palette of 16 varieties that have been carefully chosen by us to have a higher-end look and feel to others. However, we find that, more often than not, customers will come in looking for quartz and end up selecting natural stone. We feel that many people have become tired of the fake-looking marbled quartzes that have saturated the market over the last 15 years and, when they come across the emotional attraction of natural stone, they decide to go with the more-personal selection. In regards to Antolini Tech, we have chosen to go with this porcelain brand as our offering simply because it is the most realistic natural stone-looking porcelain brand on the market. Antolini has taken the best qualities in natural stone slabs, and has had them replicated with their state-of-the-art technology that offers the highest quality look in feel in their polished and matte-finished products. In general, people are either looking for Antolini Tech, or other types of porcelains, because of either high traffic areas or its durable properties. It is up to us to educate the homeowner on the positives and negatives of porcelain slabs. We typically find that our 1.2 cm porcelain Antolini Tech slabs are being selected for wall surfaces in baths and large-format installations on floors.
What’s your response to someone thinking about using those materials?
GERACI: Typically, my response is to choose what you feel best suits your lifestyle. If you cook a lot and are concerned about things like staining, etching, and scratching, and you are OK with the generic look of quartz, then you should go with that. However, with just a little more attention and care you can pick a natural stone and feel comfortable to live with it in your home, as long as you understand its limitations, which has been the case for decades.
Is Ollie Geraci still helping out in the gallery?
GERACI: Yes, of course. Ollie is loved by everyone that enters the gallery. He is a charismatic corgi and family member, and he gets full carte blanche of his picks of the month. If you are interested to see what he chooses, then you can go to our website and sign up for his monthly newsletter.
What types of natural stones are in your own residence?
GERACI: I sway more towards marble. I have used Calacatta, Travertine, and others. For years I have always had a high appreciation of the timeless look that marble has in almost every application that I have seen it installed, and it is always my go-to choice in my own home.