We are extremely proud of our heritage as well as our ability to grow in this highly competitive market dominated by foreign corporations – we are, in fact, the only surviving American company. After 130 years we remain a viable competitor because of our dedication to quality control and the characteristics of our stone – generally darker and richer in texture.
The Alberene Soapstone Company was founded in 1888 after large deposits of soapstone were discovered in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. By World War I Alberene was one of the largest employers in Virginia. The company’s holdings included 6,000 acres connected by a self-contained rail system and a network of gondolas used to transport men, machinery and product. The company’s early and long-term success were based on its claim to world’s largest supply of workable architectural grade soapstone.
Today the market is dominated by foreign competitors. Alberene is the only supplier of American soapstone. Even companies such as Vermont Soapstone and Green Mountain, commonly thought to provide American stone, import their products from Brazil. It is a hard reality for us.
What separates Alberene from foreign materials is the characteristics of our soapstone and our ability to “finish” it. Soapstone is not like other stones. The properties that make it a fabulous product for homeowners and commercial projects are also the properties that make it difficult to surface to a consistent gauge from one slab to another and even within a single slab. We’ve heard time-and-again that contractors and fabricators have returned to Alberene because of our ability to deliver that standard quality. As the oldest producer and processor of the material, we have the expertise; as the only American competitor we cannot deviate from this dedication.
And, of course, we also have access to the large deposit of soapstone that launched the company and that many consider superior to its imported cousins in coloring and texture.
In fact, the demand for our stone has exceeded our capacity to serve retail clients. Thankfully for everyone there is a resurgence of the popularity of soapstone. It is seen as the sophisticated alternative to granite – understated, sustainable, and absolutely beautiful. We are fortunate to have soapstone that is dark and can hold a permanent polish if desired, characteristics not common to soapstone. As a result we are unable to serve retail clients, which have been a significant portion of our business.
In order to handle this demand, we have radically changed our business. We have expanded our quarrying activities to increase our inventory and have created partnerships with other American stone companies to reach markets across the country.
Alberene Commercial is the final piece to this puzzle and the natural extension of the company’s history. It allows us to focus on the clients that we can best serve – contractors, fabricators, installers, specifiers, and architects.
Alberene Commercial provides the services that you need to cost-effectively deliver the best service to your clients. These services complete the triangle that honors the legacy we have inherited: a superior material, greater expertise and the highest level of service.
We are proud of our legacy and work hard to honor our place in the company’s history.