Swenson Granite Works to open at S. Hadley’s old Europa site

  • Daniel Richard, store manager of Swenson Granite Works in South Hadley, talks about the business and products they offer. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Daniel Richard, store manager of Swenson Granite Works in South Hadley, talks about the business and products they offer. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Daniel Richard, store manager of Swenson Granite Works in South Hadley, talks about the business and products they offer. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Daniel Richard, store manager of Swenson Granite Works in South Hadley, talks about the business and products they offer. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Example of a patio and Stone wall at Swenson Granite Works in South Hadley. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Stone wall at Swenson Granite Works in South Hadley. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Bird baths at Swenson Granite Works in South Hadley. —GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Examples of stone patios at Swenson Granite Works in South Hadley. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Examples of stone patios at Swenson Granite Works in South Hadley. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Swenson Granite Works in South Hadley. GAZETTE STAFF/CAROL LOLLIS

@mjtidwell781
Published: 4/29/2018 6:03:23 PM

With granite and stone products that “fit right in with the history of the area,” New England-based Swenson Granite Works will hold a grand opening for its new South Hadley store on Saturday.

Swenson, a granite quarrier and natural stone supplier, has eight other retail locations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Maine and will be opening new stores in Shrewsbury and South Hadley this May.

The store’s new location at 489 Granby St. — most recently home to Europa Restaurant — boasts a large back display area, with squares of stone laid out so purchasers and perusers can see the stone products outside in the natural light and get a sense of what they look like after being installed.

Born and raised in South Hadley, Daniel Richard is the new store manager for the South Hadley Swenson location and was the one who laid out the neat sections of mailbox stones, granite steps, patio pavers, walkway slabs, wall stones, bench tops, birdbaths, and other stone products on display. He said he set up the new store to have as many products in stock, physically on location, as possible.

“We’re excited to be here,” Richard said. “There’s a lot of untapped potential in South Hadley.”

In a press release, Richard said that Swenson’s granite and natural stone products fit right in with the history of the area, and said he looks forward to bringing great customer service to the neighborhood.

He said there will be a small crew running the store to start with: Richard, a sales employee and a driver to make deliveries and help with some installations. Swenson won’t do any prep work, like digging holes or readying concrete, but will install steps and set up mailbox stones for customers, Richard said.

“We pride ourselves on stocking a lot of our product so that customers can come and take it with them,” Richard said. “We also have small samples that people can take home with them, which is especially good for hearth and mantel decisions.”

He said that Swenson operates a quarry in Vermont and manufactures its own granite products.

One surprising piece of the business, Richard said, is that Swenson provides a lot of the granite used in roadside curbs. Curbs can be either cement or granite, he said, but many western Massachusetts communities choose to invest in granite, which is slightly more expensive but longer-lasting.

Old Europa spot

In previous years, the property at 489 Granby housed the Hadleigh House Restaurant and the Europa Restaurant, which operated there from 2005 until its closing shortly before 2011. Richard said the property had been vacant before Swenson moved in.

According to a site plan review submitted to the town in March 2017, the existing building was razed and a new, one-story building was constructed closer to the street to create the display area for Swenson’s stone products in the back.

Richard said everything on the property is brand new.

The property was sold to O’Connell Oil Associates of Northampton for $300,000 in 2012, according to property deed transfer records. O’Connell Oil Associates still owns the property but has worked out a long-term lease with Swenson, though Richard said he was not sure of the exact length.

To celebrate its grand opening, the new store will host a family-friendly open house on Saturday, May 5, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with many product demonstrations. There will be rock facing, drilling, splitting and step setting demonstrations. Delgado Stone, a Connecticut brand of thin stone veneer products, will be at the opening to showcase stone veneer, sometimes just an inch thick, that can be used on interior and exterior surfaces.

Richard explained that some slabs of granites from Swenson’s quarries are split mechanically, leaving smooth edges, while other pieces of granite are hand chiseled to add a rough-hewn rock face.

Prizes will also be given away at the open house, including tickets to see U2 at Mohegan Sun.

Swenson is part of Polycor Inc., the largest fully-integrated manufacturer and distributor of natural stone in North America, according to its website, along with sister companies Vetrazzo and Rock of Ages, which are also suppliers of stone products. 

Headquartered in Concord, New Hampshire, Swenson’s sale to Polycor in 2016 marked the end of the last home-grown stone cutter in the Granite State. Swenson maintains a quarry in Vermont and still manufactures all its own granite, according to Richard, but after 133 years of being owned by a local family, needed to sell due to lack of a successor to run the company, as reported in the Concord Monitor. 

“Our store operates independently, but it’s a big family at Swenson and we’re all on the same team,” Richard said.

M.J. Tidwell can be reached at mjtidwell@gazettenet.com.


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