Rocking Outdoor Living

Written by fmgadmin

Outdoor living and entertaining is an ever-growing lifestyle – especially in areas where the climate allows for long sunny lunches and fragrant, balmy nights under the stars. With a vast range of truly exquisite natural stone from around the world, STONEarch is a stone wholesaler based in Canada that lends a touch of the exotic to exterior entertainment areas and other spaces where impeccable style and good design are of the essence.
Natural stone encompasses not only the elemental processes and minerals that formed it but also time itself. Its ancient origins add grounded sophistication and the calm splendour of the great outdoors to modern spaces. This may be why we are so drawn to it.

Formerly known as Global Arch Inc., STONEarch is based in Toronto, Ontario and has been in the industry since 2001. The business is the brainchild of Arun and Neera Goel, a visionary couple with a true love of harmony and beauty in architecture and design. The company’s stone offering includes a vast selection of hardwearing rock suitable for patios, swimming pool areas, driveways, building exteriors or envelopes, sidewalks, streets and other landscaped areas. It sources stone from a large number of locations globally. These quarries can be found around India, China, Vietnam, Brazil, Turkey, Spain and a number of other countries.

With the largest stockyard in all of Canada, the company supplies architects, dealers, contractors and large enterprises alike. The latter sector focuses on large-scale commercial projects whereby universities, hospitals or municipalities perform substantial revamps or new installations of outdoor areas, sidewalks, and streets. In contrast, around 300 dealers resell the company’s products to homeowners and small-scale contractors and can be found all the way from Ontario and Quebec to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Michigan, and beyond. STONEarch is also the top choice of many large-scale contractors who have direct access to its extensive collection.

“We have around 10 000 bundles of stone available at any given time as we receive around four to five new containers daily, year-round,” says Arun Goel, owner.

An architect by profession, Arun has a particularly keen interest in project development and design – a trait that gives him deep insight into a client’s mind for their ultimate dream project. Of course, this highly prized knowledge is greatly valued by Arun’s clients who trust him to guide them through the process of making the correct selections. And this is what sets STONEarch apart. With the academic and historical knowledge that comes with an Indian architectural education and a natural understanding of exotic stone, STONEarch is equipped to serve a Western market with superb expertise. “Our skills are in understanding the stone and the finishes that can be applied to optimize its performance for specific uses. That is also why our customers consistently compliment us as the most innovative company in our trade,” says Arun proudly.

According to this master craftsman, there are many contributing factors to choosing the right stone for your purpose. As in most endeavours, scale and economy are the first deciding factors. Once these two answers have been established, aesthetics decide the next decisions and the questions are simple: What color is the building; what will the nature of the traffic be; what is the overall look and feel you want to create? All these factors lead to the final choice of stone. For example, a soft sandstone like ‘mint sawn’ is perfect for low-traffic areas, while a more hard-wearing, chemical resistant stone like granite may be more suitable in high-traffic spots.

STONEarch’s two current trendsetters are Silver Valley and Silver Antique – grey limestones that add a sophisticated, yet earthy tone to any outdoor area. The acid-treated limestone weathers exquisitely and was brought to America for the first time by STONEarch. It is fashioned into paving stones, copings, cobbles, steps, slabs, curbs, tiles and more. For lovers of the exotic, STONEarch’s Crema Nova and Indus Gray ranges turn any outdoor space into something extraordinary. While these stones are all about glamour, Arun’s personal favourite, Alicante Black, is a metamorphic granite that exudes glamour. This durable igneous rock displays a slightly shimmering white basis of quartz and feldspar with touches of mica, streaked with beautiful black veins of typically darker minerals. It is used on countertops in outdoor kitchens, as entranceway tiles and in a number of other applications. The best part is that while Alicante Black is modern and extremely fashionable, it is also reasonably priced – the perfect combination in any designer’s book.

While the company’s main focus has been on the residential market, there has been a marked trend toward larger industrial and commercial projects as designers and architects have started discovering Arun’s skills and expertise. “I give them solutions based on both my architectural and my construction knowledge. These professionals appreciate that as it adds a lot of value to their work,” says Arun.

One of his prize tips for dry-laying stone is the importance of the proper compaction of the gravel base layer. If this is not done correctly, the stone’s support will not be stable and can lead to cracking and other damage. When it comes to high-traffic areas, Arun recommends high-strength, durable stone with a consistent color and finish to ensure that the surface will weather evenly without becoming blotchy in one section and not in another. By the same token, the stone should have enough fine traction throughout as opposed to coarse, rough textures that can become worn down and result in a slippery surface or cause people to trip. For Arun, the balance between enough and too much traction is a fine line best judged by an expert eye. People tend to think of stone as indestructible, but all beautiful things require care and are delicate in their own way.

It is details such as these that make all the difference in the longevity of any stone surface and thanks to its solid expertise, STONEarch has established itself as a market leader in terms of its unique offering and attention to detail and service.

STONEarch’s honest and professional approach to service delivery is as fresh as it is inspiring. This company may be a veritable stone giant, but its heart is in the right place. Here, customers are served with great warmth and information is shared generously. Whether clients need to know what color or type of rock to choose, how their purchase needs to be installed or what sealer is best for their surface, the STONEarch team is always ready to assist with a smile – and promptness is a given. In fact, the team’s incredible speed of delivery is not only admirable but also a lesson in fair and honest business. Whether the request is for a quote, information, or samples, STONEarch has a standard response time of around two hours during business hours – and the result is evident in its impressive growth rate.

“We often get complimented on our efficient service. Everyone from the truck drivers to the guys in the yard as well as the office are often told by customers how satisfied they are. Our customers love the speed at which we operate,” says Arun.

The Goel family’s climb to the top of the Canadian stone industry actually started many years before their arrival in Canada. From a young age, Arun had a fascination with architecture, construction and especially with stone. During his university studies, he spent a lot of time visiting stone quarries on travels around his native India, where he learned about the different characteristics, uses and more importantly, beauty of stone. His enquiries were such that, over time, he developed an innate understanding of the material and began advising clients on its uses, layouts, and character. “This is my greatest strength,” he says.

When Arun immigrated to Canada with his wife, Neera Goel, in 2001, he first worked in the design industry for a few months. Then he realized the opportunity for a professional stone supply service and seized it. The pair started the business in 2003 and Neera took care of the operations while Arun traveled the world in search of the best stone for the Canadian market. “Although I started it, Neera carried STONEarch in the early days. She played a pivotal role in its success because she took care of the daily operations while I sourced and established international supply,” says Arun.

STONEarch has imparted upon Arun a wise and long-term approach to life in general that has proved incredibly beneficial to his own life. One such instance was when he entered and won a competition to design a stone tomb for the late Queen of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. His design won the judges over and he was invited to Malaysia to review the design not only with the judges and the construction team but also with the King. Arun was asked whether he would be able to build the Queen’s tomb as well and although he had no idea how he would go about it, he decided to take up the challenge. At first, the task was daunting, but he got to work – and the resulting tomb was declared a National Monument of Malaysia. This project remains his proudest moment as every dignitary and head of state who visits the city is introduced to this lovely construction to pay their respects to the late Queen. “While it is a relatively small structure, it constitutes a very significant part of the Malaysian heritage,” he says, and played a pivotal role in motivating Arun to continue pursuing a business that combines his passions of architecture, design, and stone.

STONEarch’s illustrious history doesn’t end here. Arun Goel was once approached by an Irish client in need of intricate stonework designs encrusted with semi-precious stones with which to bedeck mantle pieces – similar to that of the stone inlay work found in the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. The duo spent two years working on a number of projects and Arun looks back at the experience with a sense of accomplishment. No less daunting, the company’s latest flagship projects are mainly focussed on condominiums, cineplexes and commercial buildings that use its granite and other stone finishes for flooring and building envelopes.

At STONEarch, the owners believe in doing good. As Canada’s biggest store importer, STONEarch has been a proud platinum sponsor of all Landscape Ontario’s trade shows for over 10 years. It is also a proud annual platinum sponsor of Expo-FIHOQ in Quebec. Arun and Neera also support The Art of Living Foundation’s program for children in India, and are working with close friends to build a school for the blind. They want to do even more to boost entrepreneurship and education in developing countries, and are always looking to meet people that share the same philanthropic interests.

When it comes to market trends, STONEarch has seen a great change in recent years. Whereas its services appeared to be largely underrated in previous years, the advent of the outdoor living trend has brought about a fresh appreciation of quality stone in all its variations. Where outdoor spaces used to be an afterthought, STONEarch is now seeing accelerated growth in this market as people increasingly begin to appreciate the value of this great lifestyle improvement. With this greater need for improvement, STONEarch is set to stay ahead of its clients’ needs. Arun’s search for the perfect stone is set to continue and so will the quest for innovation. For this reason, lovers of distinguished design trust STONEarch for the greatest in exotic, durable outdoor stone.

Over the years, STONEarch has set the industry benchmark for quality, innovation and service.

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