STANDOUT COUNTER SERVICE

by ALAENA HOSTETTER

Known for their strength and durability, quartz countertops withstand red wine, lemon juice and harsh household cleaners, but the popular counter surface has been nearly destroyed by the U.S. regulations on China, where most of the U.S. supply of quartz countertops comes from.

New tariffs, plus a lawsuit filed by a U.S. quartz manufacturer, added a 200 to 300 percent markup on the cost of Chinese quartz countertops imported to the United States as of November last year. The astronomical increase in price has all but halted sales of the popular counter surface stateside.

Best Cheer Stone, a global company, which counts distributions centers from Los Angeles to Atlanta (Dallas included) offers several alternatives— including beautiful duty-free natural stone countertops from exclusive mines in Africa.

White marbles have long been the designer’s choice for a light and bright aesthetic in kitchens and bathrooms, but marble often comes with risks of stains and scratches. “Marble is a fragile material,” says Matthew Martinez, marketing manager at Best Cheer Stone. However, the two varieties of white marble Best Cheer Stone imports from its mines in Namibia, called “Namib Fantasy” and “Grigio Fantasy,” are almost indistinguishable from granite in terms of strength and durability.

“You can spill wine and citrus and even let it sit for a while, and it comes off,” he says. “These are certified to be used as a kitchen countertop.” Martinez notes that Best Cheer Stone still recommends sealers for marble products.

For those who eschew the extra care required for natural stone in favor of manufactured stone, like quartz, Best Cheer Stone offers another solution: It just bought a majority stake in an Italian quartz countertop company, becoming the sole U.S. distributor of Quarella.

Additionally, it has also just developed a brand-new type of stone that’s just as durable as granite, but less expensive, according to Martinez. “This product is new to the world,” he says. “The U.S. market doesn’t really like the upkeep of natural stone. This is perfect for clients who have kids that spill things and are tough on countertops.”

Best Cheer Stone has diversified its business into every aspect of the supply chain, from creating new products to harvesting natural stone to fabricating counters for home and business installation. Therefore, it has much more control of its share of the market when there are disturbances that threaten to put other stone distributors out of business.

That sort of domination in the industry means Best Cheer Stone is an international go-to source for individual residential projects; sizeable residential projects for major homebuilders; and largescale commercial jobs, including casinos and hotels with hundreds of rooms, from Las Vegas to Dubai.

Best Cheer Stone’s vertical integration into the supply chain means it can also pass extra savings on to its customers, since there aren’t middlemen driving up prices at every step.

Martinez acknowledges that the company’s Chinese roots may have a negative connotation in some consumers’ minds. “We’re changing the ideology that Chinese companies use cheap materials and don’t care about the environment,” he says.

The company’s environmental initiatives include recycling its wastewater and scraps of unused stone into accessories like soap holders and beautifully carved mosaic tiling, as seen in its African White House collection.

The company’s social program, BCS Cares, has also made a point to give back to the communities in which it operates. That means building schools in Africa and hiring women workers, who earn triple the income working for Best Cheer Stone than they would elsewhere in their hometowns.

“We aim to bring up our communities and not just extract stone from the area and take money from a customer,” Martinez says. “We’re putting money back into the communities we operate in.”

Alaena Hostetter is a Dallas-based journalist who writes about art, design, culture, music, entertainment and food. She can be reached at alaena.hostetter@gmail.com.