For 25 years, Samuel Prince of Zion Consulting has built a rock-solid reputation in the stone business. A geologist by education as well as a certified stone and marble inspector, Prince has imported granite blocks for resale for more than eight years and brokers blocks to many granite businesses in Elberton, a small town in rural north Georgia that is known as the “Granite Capital of the World.” His established roster of customers includes Everlasting Granite and Star Granite, two of the largest such companies in the industry. Prince realized, though, that to stay competitive, it is never too late to innovate.

Last year, he used an ACE loan to expand his business to include a fully automated CNC granite and marble sculpting operation. This state-of-the-art, computerized equipment uses robotic technology to carve and reproduce any objects, images, or script that clients desire on their monuments. Until recently, this level of craftsmanship could only be done by hand, which proved time-consuming, labor-intensive, and costly. Without this addition, Prince would have been forced to consider commissioning the work overseas, in China, India, or Italy, which also would add to costs while limiting the colors of the stone to the site of their manufacture. Granite retailers have expressed widespread enthusiasm about adding these services to their sales catalogs, and Zion Consulting anticipates a dramatic surge in sales and customer satisfaction.