The Original Earth Products Showcase Gets a Major Makeover
Down on Hancock Street in Bridgeport, Facility Manager Dani Alves gives a Cook’s tour of the nearly completed renovation at the company’s indoor showroom for exterior masonry products. The showroom was a first for the company and a first for the region when it was envisioned by the late Bob Oneglia and built in 1993. Bob Rizzo, Mason Division Assistant Vice President who operates out of the building, is obviously pleased with the makeover. “Were Bob here I know he’d be very pleased and he would be thrilled with how Kara improved the new space.” (Kara Oneglia, Mason Division Assistant Vice President, is Bob Oneglia’s daughter.)
“In its time this place was cutting edge,” says Rizzo. “There was nothing else like it. But we deal in products that are certainly a bit style- or fashion-based. Trends come and go, and as often as we had changed and updated over the years we knew it was time to restart from scratch.”
The square footage of display area was condensed from 20,000SF to about 12,000SF. What once was showroom space became an enlarged indoor warehouse area. It created new benefits, not the least for mason clients was the ability to purchase dry sand and block in any weather.
There are over 100 product offerings displayed on walls and in vignettes, from veneer stones to pool copings, and decorative concrete pavers to imported patio materials. The result was more products than before, displayed in a very accessible, customer- friendly way. Overlooking the showroom space is a brand new Architectural Design Center for architects, specifiers and their high-end clients, where unique stone products from across the world are on display to view and touch, in a casual environment conducive to decision-making. “This space will allow O&G to share the best new products we discover at trade shows around the globe that we feel our clientele would appreciate,” says Oneglia.
“We accomplished all this with the experience of the creative, long-time employees here in Bridgeport,” says Alves. Rizzo concurs: “My appreciation and thanks go to Tony Engala, Dani Alves, Sheryl Lentine and Sonia Maldonado who all took part in the design. And whatever construction assistance we needed, [General Superintendent] Leo Nardi found the best help for us. It was a truly unified O&G effort.”
Enlisting expert mason clients who did most of the final installation work, the renovation took about one year, from demolition to the final cleanup. As Rizzo and company attend to the punch list items that put the finishing touches on the project, they are planning a grand opening for the spring.
(top) Imported pavers from Great Britain lead to a full scale conservatory and house facade veneered in Champlain Stone Granite. O&G formally represents Champlain on residential and commercial projects. (bottom) Unilock pavers and walls complement a full-scale house facade and clearly depict how elegant a patio can be for potential customers.