EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The sound of buzzing machinery filled the large workshop, and it was quite noisy considering only two men were working.
One machine seamed together two pieces of Corian, a material made by DuPont, into a countertop that will go to Atlantic City Electric, said Bob Ferrin, owner of Ferrin Custom Countertops. The parts were held together by seaming clamps as the device did its thing.
“You can’t even see or feel the seam when it’s done,” said Ferrin, 61, of Linwood. “It chemically binds it.”
A few yards away was a slab waiting to be cut to replace a broken boat part for a marina in Somers Point, Ferrin said.
In business for about six years, Ferrin Custom Countertops is one of the few shops in the area that actually fabricates the materials for its jobs, he said. It is also licensed to work with Corian.
The shop makes countertops for local companies such as Atlantic City Electric and LabCorp, restaurants, the Meadowview nursing home, new housing construction and some casinos, Ferrin said.
“We’re trying to tap the retail market,” he said.
Homeowners who want a new look for their kitchens can replace the counters for about $600 to $1,200, Ferrin said. That’s cheaper than other local outlets, because he fabricates the materials onsite while most others have to order them. Laminates can give the look of granite or quartz for a lot less money.
Ferrin said he will remove old countertops and install the new ones, or cut the counters to the customer’s measurements for those who prefer to do the job themselves.
Making the counters in-house provides another competitive advantage, in that he can turn most jobs around within three or four days, while many others can take three or four weeks, Ferrin said.
Ferrin said he worked as a builder for 27 years, and constructed many of the homes and offices in South Jersey. But he got tired of dealing with the bureaucracy and permitting process and decided to pursue a different line of work.
He knew how to make countertops, so he got the warehouse in Egg Harbor Township that already had the equipment he needed, Ferrin said.
“I just jumped in but the timing was a little off,” he said. “I went through a couple of recessions when I was building, but I never saw anything like this.”
New housing construction, which makes up a good part of his business, has almost come to a standstill in South Jersey, Ferrin said.
“We need the developers to start working,” and it just isn’t happening, he said.
While he’s waiting for the housing market to pick up, Ferrin said he does jobs for area businesses and homeowners.
“It’s very competitive. It’s a volume business,” he said.
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