Custom Stone Interiors LLC of St. Cloud opened Dec. 10 in the Pine River industrial park. Unlike many businesses, they opened their new location specifically because they already have customers in Pine River.

"We had a lot of customers already in this area and they would have at least an hour-and-10-minute drive to Fargo, St. Cloud or Minneapolis to see a large quantity of slabs," said Marketing Manager Mary Coleman. "There isn't a slab showroom with this many slabs inside in this area."

Coleman said the Pine River location is also central to many contractors and cabinetmakers who purchased from Custom Stone Interiors in the past, tapping into a market for customers from Brainerd to Walker and everywhere in between.

The company itself is based in St. Cloud under the ownership of engineers Tom Hansen and Mark Schiebelhut, who once worked in the business of building the equipment that makes and polishes granite countertops. For 17 years now they have run their own business, Custom Stone Interiors, selling those stone countertops out of St. Cloud. Coleman said their background is why their product is high quality.

"It ensures really good, clean processes and that's kind of how it got started," Coleman said. "We're really known for our quality above all else."

The new location not only has an existing customer base, but it was also built with cold winters in mind. Customers no longer need to drive to St. Cloud to the original company showroom, and in Pine River they get to brows at their own pace indoors.

"(In) our other location, the slabs are outside, which is fine in the summer and cold in the winter," Coleman said. "This is fun for us."

The new showroom showcases more than 40 slabs of granite and manufactured quartz as well as smaller samples of the quartz, which are too numerous in style to keep on hand at all times.

The Pine River location also carries a line of sinks. This is necessary because most of the sinks are mounted underneath the stone countertops. The company must cut the stone to fit the sink, so keeping sinks that match their templates is the best option.

When up to full speed, the showroom will employ two to three employees. It is not, at this time, going to be a manufacturing office because of the cost of manufacturing equipment.

"This is a slab showroom and a satellite office of our St. Cloud location. At this point there will be no fabrication at this location," Coleman said. "Not to say that long term it won't happen, but to start out we will be fabricating out of St. Cloud still."

The Pine River showroom shares a building with Down to Earth Wood at 1279 Roosevelt Ave. in the industrial park.