The Wicked Yard

Swenson’s Granite State Stores Connect With Their Communities

Posted by Amanda Pittsley on Sep 22, 2020 11:27:26 AM

Swenson Granite Works Amherst, New Hampshire retail store

From helping a homeowner with a first-time project to overseeing a monument honoring veterans constructed in their hometown, the teams at Swenson Granite Works’ two New Hampshire retail locations in Concord and Amherst are deeply connected to their surrounding communities. It makes sense, seeing as they work with a material so closely connected to the Granite State and quarried just steps away in Concord.

READ MORE ABOUT NEW HAMPSHIRE’S DEEP HISTORY OF GRANITE

Since 1883, Swenson craftsmen have hand-selected and crafted granite products with precision and passion. Team members at the retail locations help bring your vision to life, whether that’s a new granite lamp post to light up your yard, front steps to enter your home, or pavers for a patio to create an outdoor living space for your family to enjoy for decades to come.

Bob Chase, Yard Foreman at the Swenson Granite Works Concord, New Hampshire                                                                                                                                                                          retail store

Bob Chase, Yard Foreman at the Concord retail store, keeps an extensive inventory of stock materials organized and ready for customers to see.

Daniel Broderick works in Sales Support at the Swenson Granite Works Concord retail store.

Dan Broderick, Inside Sales Support, is a jack-of-all-trades for the Concord retail store. Here, he’s loading a customer after writing up their order.

Truck Driver Doug Baillie delivers for the Swenson Granite Works Concord retail store.

Truck Driver Dough Baillie gets ready to install another set of Woodbury Gray steps at a Concord customer’s home.

Whatever the project, Swenson Granite Works’ products add a classic New England sensibility and the muscle of natural stone. Swenson Granite Works’ team is dedicated to offering guidance, knowledge and the resources to get the job done.

Concord Store Helps Honor Local History

Concord Store Manager Dennis Ames is a second generation team member whose father opened the store on North State Street in 1990. “I can’t imagine a better legacy,” said Ames, who’s been at the retail location for 20 years and said he prefers old-school designs and finishes and working with one-of-a-kind projects.

Swenson Granite Works Concord Store Manager Dennis Ames

One of the things Ames—who loves the four seasons New Hampshire residents get to appreciate—most enjoys is helping customers make their dreams a reality. “Standing side by side with a homeowner as they witness their hand drawn sketch come to life is my favorite part of the job,” he said, adding that one of the top misconceptions of natural stone is that it’s just too expensive to even consider for a hardscape project.

Assistant Manager Mike Speikers, who has been with Swenson Granite Works for three years, agreed that working with customers is the most satisfying part of the job. “I love helping people realize their dreams from home to hearth. It’s gratifying to see projects through from start to finish and with each success, I learn something new.”

Concord Assistant Store Manager Michael Speikers

When he thinks of Swenson Granite Works, Ames said he’s reminded of the company’s history and commitment to the communities it serves and providing the best product in a timely manner. For years, schools and universities across New Hampshire, including The University of New Hampshire (UNH) School of Law, Southern New Hampshire University, St. Paul’s School and Plymouth State University, have turned to Swenson Granite Works to elevate their campuses with granite masterpieces. When carefully designed and crafted, stonework can transform ordinary spaces into long-standing campus landmarks.

Swenson Granite Works provided WOODBURY GRAY™ granite for both the granite cap and the engraved panel of one of Southern New Hampshire University’s first entry signs

Swenson Granite Works provided WOODBURY GRAY™ granite for both the granite cap and the engraved panel of one of Southern New Hampshire University’s first entry signs.

READ MORE ABOUT WHY NEW HAMPSHIRE SCHOOLS HAVE A LOVE FOR GRANITE

The Concord store has been a part of a number of notable local civic projects, including veterans’ memorials in Dover and Somersworth. One of Ames’ favorite projects was the Hampton Beach renovation, which gave the deteriorating Seashell Pavilion and beach facilities a much-needed facelift in 2012.

Another very important project the Concord team participated in was the Portsmouth African Burying Grounds, built to honor the 13 graves of enslaved people that had been covered up by roadway in the 1800’s until remains were discovered during a utilities excavation project in 2003. The newly reimagined plaza features figures embedded in slabs of Woodbury Gray granite representing the first man brought from Africa as well as Mother Africa.

Portsmouth African Burying Grounds featuring granite from Swenson Granite Works
 
Portsmouth African Burying Grounds featuring granite from Swenson Granite Works

Ames helped design the 1614 Monument in Rye, built to honor the 400th anniversary of the discovery of New England by Capt. John Smith. The monument was dedicated in 2014. The 18-ton CONCORD GRAY™ granite obelisk was constructed of four pieces quarried by Swenson Granite Works, which proudly celebrates the origins of New England.

1614 Monument in Rye featuring granite from Swenson Granite Works

“It’s an awesome feeling knowing that you were part of making something people will visit, adore and photograph,” said Ames. “Most people aren’t aware of how challenging these projects were to make and facilitate. They will be there for generations to come.”

Amherst Store Forms Lasting Relationships With Customers

Swenson Granite Works’ Amherst store is also heavily involved in helping to bring the beauty and permanence of granite and natural stone to local civic monuments, according to Store Manager Ryan Mesick, who has been with Swenson Granite Works since 2017. Last year, they created 12 posts for a local rail trail that featured engravings to help guide visitors along the path. “I thought it was neat to assist with a project that will help guide people through a conservation area for many years,” he said.

Swenson Granite Works Amherst Store Manager Ryan Mesick

But sometimes, it’s the special orders that are the most gratifying, like the memorial bench that features engravings and quotes for a customer to memorialize the passing of a loved one. “It was an emotional order for the customer,” said Mesick, “but it was amazing to see the finished product and how happy the family was to have that granite bench to remember their loved one forever.”

Swenson Granite Works Woodbury Gray granite bench with custom engraving

Woodbury Gray granite bench with custom engraving

One of the challenges Mesick faces is helping customers appreciate the time and labor required to create many of Swenson Granite Works’ stone products. “A lot of people think we make things at the store, and are not aware of the process involved to produce locally sourced natural stone products. From extracting the stone from our quarries, to transporting the blocks to our production plant where blocks are crafted into landscape and Hardscape products,” he said. “Folks are surprised at how hands-on many of these projects are, and that they are not just automated by machine.”

Truck Driver Chuck Marchetti delivers for the Swenson Granite Works Amherst retail store

Truck Driver Chuck Marchetti unloads material at an Amherst customer’s home.

Assistant Manager Jacob Lee has been working at the Amherst store for about two years and when he’s not cheering for the Patriots, he assists with coaching football for his two children.

Swenson Granite Works Amherst Assistant Store Manager Jacob Lee

He’s a fan of flagging stone for its natural look and the way it complements granite steps and said he loves living in the Granite State. But mostly, Lee enjoys working with his Swenson Granite Works customers: “Forming lasting relationships with customers is what I do best. I look forward to working with customers and helping them bring their hardscape projects to fruition.”

The COVID Crisis Effect: Everyone Is Improving Their Backyards

Both New Hampshire store managers agree that while the COVID-19 crisis carried some uncertainty originally, business has been steady, with no signs that things will slow anytime soon. “It's a unique year to say the least, but I’m happy to see our family of contractors having more projects than they can complete in one year, already booking into 2021, while at the same time we are busy helping our local homeowners tackle their DIY projects,” said Ames of the Concord store’s business boom. “We have definitely seen a significant increase in people pulling the trigger on those outdoor projects they have been thinking about for a few seasons and finally building their outdoor kitchens and grilling stations.”

An outdoor kitchen crafted with Boston Blend Ledgestone thin veneer and Woodbury Gray granite walls caps and countertop. Project by Northern Lights Landscape.

An outdoor kitchen crafted with Boston Blend Ledgestone thin veneer and Woodbury Gray granite walls caps and countertop. Project by Northern Lights Landscape.

Although we cannot foresee what the coming months will hold, we do know that folks who live in the Granite State will be able to count on Swenson Granite Works’ Concord and Amherst stores to help with their next home improvement projects.

Download the Price Guide to get the details on posts, steps, coping, walkways, curbing, patios, benches, fire pits and more.

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Topics: Granite, New Hampshire, Store Spotilght

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