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Countertop maker to bring 50 jobs to Cranberry

Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Josh Steffen, a material handler, at Sims-Lohman sprays off a piece of granite at the company's new Cranberry Township location on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. The manufacturing process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours depending on the size of the countertop, according to company officials.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Josh Steffen, a material handler, at Sims-Lohman sprays off a piece of granite at the company's new Cranberry Township location on Wednesday, April 9, 2014. The manufacturing process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 6 hours depending on the size of the countertop, according to company officials.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - A machine cuts a piece of granite at Sims-Lohman in Cranberry Township on Wednesday, April 9, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>A machine cuts a piece of granite at Sims-Lohman in Cranberry Township on Wednesday, April 9, 2014.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Josh Steffen, a material handler, at Sims-Lohman connects a piece of granite to lift it at the company's new Cranberry Township location on Wednesday, April 9, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Josh Steffen, a material handler, at Sims-Lohman connects a piece of granite to lift it at the company's new Cranberry Township location on Wednesday, April 9, 2014.
Justin Merriman | Tribune-Review - Jeremy Overholts, a fabricator at Sims-Lohman works on a piece of granite at the company's new Cranberry Township location on Wednesday, April 9, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Justin Merriman  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Jeremy Overholts, a fabricator at Sims-Lohman works on a piece of granite at the company's new Cranberry Township location on Wednesday, April 9, 2014.
By Emily Balser
Saturday, April 12, 2014, 6:09 p.m.
 

An Ohio-based granite countertop maker and cabinet distributor has started production in Cranberry, pledging to bring 50 new jobs over three years.

Sims-Lohman Inc. acquired the former Bradley Stone at 1241 Freedom Road and is planning a $1 million expansion with help from a $100,000 state grant and $50,000 in Jobs Creation Tax Credits.

“It's a natural progression for us as far as expansion,” said Kevin Thomas, regional manager for Sims-Lohman. “We anticipate very big growth in the Pittsburgh market.”

Sims-Lohman kept Bradley Stone's 15 employees, Thomas said. All told, 20 jobs have been filled.

“Every week, I'm adding people,” Thomas said. “We should be fully staffed by June.”

The granite comes from South America, Norway, China, India and Russia.

The average countertop takes about two hours to make, Thomas said. Machines automate most of the process.

He said the facility receives about three semi-trucks of granite a each week. Each truck delivers 100 to 120 slabs.

The company partnered with a team from Gov. Tom Corbett's office that works with businesses seeking to expand to Pennsylvania.

“As our economy continues to grow, companies are choosing Pennsylvania as the best place to grow their businesses and create family-sustaining jobs,” Corbett said in a statement about Sims-Lohman coming to Pennsylvania.

Butler County was a perfect fit for the company, said Dewitt Peart, president of Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, which markets the region to businesses. The county offers “the benefits of location, real estate, highway access, and workforce, to name a few.”

Thomas said market demand drove the move to Western Pennsylvania.

“We're extremely encouraged by our number of sales so far and how we're doing in the market,” he said. “We set an initial budget that we're going to blow away.”

The company will be opening a showroom at the Freedom Road facility in Cranberry in the next few weeks.

Thomas said the company hopes to keep expanding within the Pittsburgh market and eventually open another showroom closer to Downtown in the next few years.

Emily Balzer is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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