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  Sunday, March 1, 2015
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Bay State Marble & Granite Inc.
By Rick Winterson

     Tom Hoffrage, the owner of Bay State Marble & Granite Inc., has become a successful independent craftsman.  He designs, crafts, and installs natural stone surfaces for a wide range of uses out of his shop in Dorchester.

  Bay State Marble & Granite Inc. is growing – from one or two contracts per month to several per week right now, and from a small shop in Hudson to 1,500 square feet plus an office in Dorchester.  A showroom is planned for 2007.

     Tom Hoffrage the owner of Bay State Marble & Granite Inc., likes the way his business has come along, but he insists on maintaining the “owner-operated” approach. No piece of stone leaves the shop without his personally checking it.  He is involved with every job, no matter how large or small, which could be anything from a ten-unit condo to one individual piece of stone.  And Tom is one of those craftsmen who live up to the motto, “No job is too small.”

     Many customers first think of stone for use in countertops, especially in the kitchen.  Certainly, this is a major application for crafted and fitted stone surfaces.  Bathroom vanities, entryways, fireplaces, and shower surrounds are some other applications, and occasionally, stone is used more for its decorative qualities, such as for inlays in fine tables.

     There are a number of stones available from Bay State Marble & Granite.  In addition to the two in the company name, popular stones include slate, onyx, limestone, soapstone, bluestone, and travertine.  Soapstone, for example, was once associated with institutional sinks and laboratory bench tops.  Nowadays, quality soapstone from Spain, Brazil, or Portugal is oiled to darken its color and to bring out the stone’s natural veining.  Many of Tom’s customers select it specifically for its unusual beauty.

     Stone surfaces of any kind need little care, but since natural materials tend to be porous, they need to be sealed.  Common kitchen ingredients such as wine and tomato sauce can stain or are acidic in nature.  Tom will teach you to care for your stone surfaces.  In fact, he insists on walking new customers through the entire process of installing stone in their homes or offices.  The best descriptions of the approach he takes to educating his customers are contained in the testimonials he has posted on his website – “baystatestone”.

Tom was born in Chicago, but moved to Harvard, Mass., at six months.  After graduating from Acton/Boxborough Regional, he went to Taylor University, where he majored in History and Communications.  For a few years thereafter, he worked for 3M in Salt Lake City and Idaho.  He and three partners then got into a publishing enterprise in Michigan, which they later sold.

     Tom returned to Boston and married Dia Cindrich.  She originally had come here from Ohio; they were introduced by a mutual friend.  Dia works with the hospice division of Dana Farber, performing family education and coordination.  They are currently living on East Fourth Street and of course, have installed their own granite surfaces.  They’re Red Sox fans of the diehard sort.  They enjoy the outdoors, especially Castle Island.

     Four years ago, Tom made the final decision to go out on his own, possibly influenced by a painting business he and a buddy from B.C. had for awhile.  He traveled to both Seattle and Phoenix, where he learned the stone business from his brothers-in-law, who own companies named “Affordable Extras” and Natural Stone Inc.”

He financed himself, starting in the small Hudson shop, and ending up in Dorchester, where he’s developing plans for his 2007 showroom.  He employs an installer and two fabricators, and cuts the stone himself.  His three main suppliers are all local stone wholesalers.

Some of Tom’s jobs have been on Telegraph and East Fourth; he has done around 20 condo contracts in Weymouth, J.P., and Dorchester; and his high-end work includes eight kitchens on the Vineyard and downtown installations on South Charles Street.  More and more contractors are using Bay State Marble & Granite.  As his business grows, Tom is always on the lookout for good employees.  Fabricators with some experience are preferred, but he is willing to train the right person.

     And to repeat, selecting stone surfaces is an educational experience.  Tom likes to say, “We take each new customer by the hand and walk them through the complete design and selection process”.  Contact Tom Hoffrage at Bay State Marble & Granite Inc. by calling (617)686-4249 or by logging onto info@baystatestone.com

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Tom Hoffrage, owner of Bay State Marble & Granite Inc. in Dorchester.

An example of one natural stone patterned counter top.

Swirl pattern granite counter top being installed.