When we last talked to Oscar Reyes, owner of Westchester Marble and Granite Works in Mamaroneck, wagmag.com/the-close-ties-behind-westchester-granite/ he was in the midst of doing what he always does, creating stonework for kitchens, bathrooms, jacuzzis, fireplaces and barbecues, but mostly for kitchens. Then a little thing called the pandemic came along.
“The first week of the lockdown last year, everything closed and we hunkered down,” he remembers. “I told my guys to stay home and stay strong.”
It was not long, however, before Reyes and his team were back together and expanding. Not only did some projects need to be completed, but people staying home were noticing that some elements of the house needed to be repaired or replaced, particular in the kitchen and in the shower, where sheets of porcelain rather than tiles are the trend.
“We’re grateful,” he says. “Not everyone’s been busy.”
But it’s not just his business that Reyes is thankful for. He, a daughter and his sister-in-law in his native Guatemala have all survived the virus while several clients and associates didn’t make it.
“I’m sad for the people who are gone, good people. It didn’t need to be this way. They’re gone far too soon.”
If there has been any upside to the virus, it is that it has afforded people the time and the impetus to take more entrepreneurial risks.
“I always had this thing in the back of my mind to find something smaller and be creative and make something useful,” he says.
So Reyes — who started in a garage in Tarrytown and has counted Martha Stewart and Hertz among his clients — has turned to making 16-by-12-inch cutting boards with different colored marble or granite borders framing butcher block. Plastic feet keep the boards from scratching counters.
Reyes is not limiting his horizons to cutting boards. He’s also thinking of cheeseboards — half- butcher block, half-granite or marble — trivets for your hot dishes and spoon rests.
“I think there’s a wider market for such things,” he says. And given the craftsmanship he puts into projects great and small, we concur.
For more, visit marbleandgraniteworks.com and facebook.com/Westchester.granite.