South Hadley native Dan Richard has come full circle. He grew up in this small town, not far from Springfield, and after working at the Medway Swenson Granite Works store in eastern Massachusetts, found his way back home in 2018 to manage the newest retail store.
The Swenson Granite Works South Hadley store, located on Granby Road on the site of an abandoned restaurant that had become “an eyesore,” brings locally-sourced, natural stone products to Western Massachusetts as a heartier — and more beautiful — alternative to wood and concrete products.
Richard, 30, and his Assistant Manager, TJ Gajewski — who is new to South Hadley — bring expertise and a commitment to quality in helping their customers find just the right product for their projects. Whether it’s a new mailbox post, entryway steps or bird bath, the South Hadley store team can recommend the granite that will work best.
“It’s just a superior product,” said Gajewski, 32, “it’s hard to match the integrity of granite.”
While the store works with a number of local contractors and does a lot of work in nearby New York, Richard said they get their fair share of customers who are do-it-yourselfers. “We work hand in hand with them, not only supplying them material but also pointing them in the right direction of what the finished product is going to look like,” he explained.
“A lot of times people come in expecting the granite to cost a lot more and then they’re pleasantly surprised to find that the price tag is not as high as they thought,” said Richard, who’s spent time working in construction and landscaping. “Concrete steps aren't much cheaper, and they can't compare to a product that lasts a lifetime.”
Woodbury Gray granite steps and pavers at the store’s outdoor display
Both agreed that WOODBURY GRAY® granite steps are by far their most popular product, which they can install using the crane on their setting truck once the old steps have been demoed and the base has been prepped. While Swenson Granite Works does not handle removal of steps or pad preparation, instructions for pad preparation are available.
In addition to granite steps, you can also purchase granite pavers, mailbox and lamp posts, curbing, edging, coping, cap, trim, natural stone veneers and ornamental products at the store. An extensive supply of standard sizes are in stock. Custom fabrication is available to accommodate special sizes.
Woodbury Gray granite mailbox posts
Woodbury Gray granite fire pit and benches
The South Hadley team said it’s the “brutal” Western Massachusetts winters that make granite the ideal project for outdoor jobs. “Freeze-thaw cycles happen as water freezes and expands, which often creates cracks in concrete products,” said Richard. “That won’t ever happen with granite.”
He also observed that the look of granite complements the traditional New England feel of the area, with it’s abundance of natural stone.
Gajewski, who served four years in the Air Force and spent time in Kuwait, relocated with his wife to South Hadley from a town about 40 minutes east and they’re expecting their first baby in the spring. He said they love the downtown Commons and look forward to taking advantage of South Hadley’s excellent school system in the future.
“We’ve gotten a lot of good vibes from the community in general,” Gajewski added. “Residents who’ve lived here for 40 or 50 years are happy to see a new business that brings more to the local economy.”
As the store continues to grow, Richard said he and his partner will continue to focus on their expanding customer base and educating them about the advantages of using granite for a multitude of home projects.
“Customers are always pleasantly surprised at how affordable our granite is, particularly since it is virtually maintenance-free and will outlast other material types. We are proud to stand behind our products,” Richard said.
Get the details on granite steps, the store’s most popular product. Find styles, stone options, residential projects and a video on the installation process in the Steps & Treads Inspiration Guide.