Founded by Subodh Shah in 2013, Grani Marmo Classic Stones Factory LLC is UAE’s leading supplier of natural and engineered stone. Originally from Mumbai, India, Shah graduated from St. John’s University in New York, USA with a degree in computer science, with the aim of being an integral part of the industry. However, hailing from a family of four generations businessmen, the lure of joining a family business was too strong and he soon found himself looking after a small granite business his father had started. Under Shah’s able leadership, the business grew on to become a huge success story, acquiring 40% market share, and secured its place firmly as a market leader. We speak to him about his plans for the company and more.
Grani Marmo Classic started in UAE in 2013; did you find it very difficult to break into the market here as compared to India?
I would say that Dubai is a very mature market in the stone business. This is as positive as it is challenging for a new company like us. Although, we have the capacity of taking big projects on board, any contractor or consultant will ask for previous local experience.
You have a degree in computer science and you’re in the marble business; how easy or difficult was it for you to transition?
I never pursued a business focused on my studies; it was more like a personal passion. Although, IT did give me the skills to implement automation and systems for the stone business.
What are some of the obstacles you have faced through the course of your career and how have you overcome them?
The first and biggest obstacle we’ve faced was the lack of expertise at manufacturing artificial marble and quartz. We had to learn about the raw materials, their treatment and the production process from scratch. It wasn’t easy and took us a while to figure it out. Now KalingaStone is an internationally renowned brand; we made it!
The marble business has always been your family business; what are some of the things you’ve learnt from your father that have influenced your work ethic?
Honesty is the core of my father’s teaching. He said to me, “Never cheat and you will live peacefully”. The other big point he always emphasized on was to not be in debt, so I will never get a call in the morning from someone i owe money to.
What would you say you have done to innovate and transform the business since you took over?
When I came on board in the business, the first company had a very long name, New Diamond Granite Export, and I knew that would never become a top of mind brand. I changed that name to Classic Marble Company, which is the company that I own in India.
What was the reason behind the decision to rebrand?
Consumers often thought our retail line only included marble therefore the decision to rename the company was primarily to highlight that we work with other natural stones too, including granite. The name is a combination of ‘Grani’ from the Spanish word ‘Granito’ for granite and ‘Marmo’ which refers to marble in Italian. The logo also reflects a Roman pillar, which is a significant symbol of classical architecture
Flash forward a decade; what does the future of Grani Marmo Classic look like?
The largest stone factory in the region. The focus is on growing the company’s range of 200 plus stones to include the latest and exotic ones. We are also committed to more than 50 projects across five continents.
Previously known as Marmo Classic Stones Factory LLC, the firm recently underwent a rebranding exercise to accurately reflect its product range. The company is a key supplier of marble, granite, engineered marble and quartz in the region and its 30,000 square feet facility in Dubai Investment Park 2 enables the distribution of these products to the wider UAE, GCC, Levant and North Africa markets.
Sourced from over 40 countries across the globe, including Italy, Turkey, Spain and Brazil, the stones are designed for use in residential and commercial developments. The company also represents the internationally known brand KalingaStone, with a diverse catalogue for reconstituted marble and quartz.
Already recognised as a reliable materials supplier in the region, Grani Marmo Classic offers its customers solutions for customised projects and material installation for floors, walls, bathrooms, kitchen tops and external facades. It has a number of prestigious projects in its portfolio, many due for completion later this year.