A Quick Chat With Toro Stone - Rob McKay & Kevin Grotke

Words: Precision masonry Inc.

The MCAA had a chance to sit down with Rob McKay and Kevin Grotke from Toro Stone, a relatively new brand within the manufactured stone market. Despite its new branding, the product itself has a history spanning over 35 years. Driven by feedback from the market, Toro Stone aims to simplify packaging and improve product efficiency. The focus is on ergonomic designs and maximizing warehouse space utility. Their strategy involves collaborating with the masonry industry to continuously innovate and address various needs such as durability, installation speed, and design.

One of the primary concerns in the masonry industry is the durability of materials used. Toro Stone comes with a 50-year warranty, which aligns with industry standards. This assurance of longevity is bolstered by their compliance with the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) guidelines. This guarantees not only the durability of the product but also adherence to recognized installation standards.

Understanding the intricate nature of stone veneer installation, Toro Stone provides extensive support to masons and contractors. This includes promoting the correct installation methods and advocating for industry growth. Rob McKay highlighted that their role is to support the industry by ensuring proper installation practices and encouraging new entrants to the trade. This approach not only helps in maintaining high standards but also aids in the industry's sustainability.

“What we want to do as Toro Stone is support the industry to make sure it still grows and thrives and survives, right? So whether that be making sure that we're getting it right, or promoting the right methods for installation to make sure that jobs go up and they're well maintained.” -Rob McKay

A standout feature of Toro Stone is its innovative packaging design. The product is packaged in cartons containing 10 square feet of flat stone or 10 linear feet of corners, simplifying transport around job sites. This design minimizes the risk of scuffing or breakage and is more ergonomically friendly compared to traditional crates. The smart packaging system also allows for better stackability, enhancing warehouse space efficiency and reducing handling efforts.

“The carton of 10 square feet enables contractors to move the product around the job, to minimize scuffing and breakage because it's still in the pack. You're not taking it out of a crate and putting it in a bucket or a wheel barrel.” -Kevin Grotke

Consistency in color matching is a priority for Toro Stone. McKay emphasized the importance of maintaining manufacturing standards to ensure that products are consistent over time. This reliability is crucial for customers who choose stone for continuity in their projects. It also facilitates repairs and additions years down the line, ensuring a consistent look and feel across all installations.

Consistency in color matching is a priority for Toro Stone. McKay emphasized the importance of maintaining manufacturing standards to ensure that products are consistent over time. This reliability is crucial for customers who choose stone for continuity in their projects. It also facilitates repairs and additions years down the line, ensuring a consistent look and feel across all installations.

“Well, I think it's important that, from a manufacturing standpoint, products are held to a standard. So that whatever is created today, is created next week, next month, two years from now, and I think having the ability to kind of know that you're getting what you get in the boxes can be consistent from every job is very important.” -Rob McKay

Customer satisfaction at Toro Stone is enhanced through its connection with Instone, leveraging a large network of dealers and an efficient supply chain. This allows for frequent delivery schedules, ensuring timely availability of products. The streamlined distribution network means that whether a project requires one box or multiple truckloads, the supply is readily accessible without unnecessary delays, ensuring that construction projects stay on schedule.

Toro Stone has invested in a robust platform to streamline the ordering and delivery process. Their website enables customers to check product availability in real-time, facilitating better project planning. This system, coupled with the support of their dealer network, ensures timely delivery of products, thereby aiding contractors in meeting their project deadlines efficiently.

“Our website is designed so everyone can see product availability on our website. So if they want to go look and they need a certain square footage of Toro Stone, they can go on and see if it's available, and where it's available, depending on your geography throughout the country. -Rob McKay

The Toro Stone Smart Packaging System is designed with simplicity and efficiency in mind. Each carton is manageable and ergonomically correct, easing the transportation and handling on job sites. The packaging also allows for better stacking and warehouse space utilization, providing an edge over competitors in terms of storage efficiency. This system reflects Toro Stone's commitment to incorporating market feedback and creating practical solutions for common challenges faced during installation.

“So it’s a little more ergonomic, ergonomically correct than other packaging in the marketplace today. Capped off with those cartons going inside of a crate, the benefit of the crate is the ability to stack. The benefit of the ability to stack is for the suppliers to get more efficiency in their warehouse space.” -Kevin Grotke

The success of Toro Stone is driven by a team with extensive experience in the stone industry. Combining decades of manufacturing expertise with market insights from Instone, the team is well-equipped to meet the evolving needs of contractors and masons. Their product development strategy is highly responsive, involving feedback from various regions to tailor products that meet specific market demands. This market-driven approach ensures that new product developments are relevant and well-received by those installing them everyday.

Toro Stone's comprehensive approach to product innovation, customer support, and market responsiveness sets it apart in the stone veneer industry. With a focus on durability, ease of installation, consistent quality, and exceptional customer service, Toro Stone is well-positioned to meet the needs of the current market while fostering long-term growth and sustainability in the masonry industry.

Toro Stone is a product of Instone, the largest wholesale stone distributor and supplier of thin veneer masonry products in the US. Instone is a Platinum partner of the MCAA and MASONRY magazine through the Masonry Alliance Program.

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