‘The Stoneman’ a Rock-Solid Business for 30 Years
The Stoneman, Mike “Stony” LoCasale, has been on the job for three decades, and by now, satisfied customers might also be third-generation clients. He backs up a job well done with the sign “The Stoneman Was Here.”
The business is delivery and spread of aggregate material to customers on Long Beach Island and in surrounding areas.
Between the good word of referrals and how assured inquirers are after they talk to The Stoneman on the phone, LoCasale gets about 95 percent of the jobs from people who call.
“Along with delivery of stone, we also spread the stone and install pavers. We do landscaping, grading, all aspects of maintaining a person’s property,” he specified.
Most of the orders are for standard washed stone that fills the homeowner’s need for a ground cover that is both practical and cosmetic. At the shore, stone is in demand, and The Stoneman gets the average job down and evenly spread in about three to four hours. Paver work takes a little longer, of course.
Equipment is well maintained. A 12-ton truck handles bigger jobs; next down is a 6-ton vehicle, then two pickups, along with various-sized pieces of equipment for spreading the stone, and attachments.
In a normal day, they lay between 40 and 60 tons of stone, the guys on the job counted.
“One reason we’re so successful is the great employees that we’ve got and the hard work they do, the dedication they have,” LoCasale said as the crew gathered at the West Creek headquarters to start another day.
“It’s a lot of time and a lot of energy, but in the end it’s all worthwhile,” The Stoneman said as he took stock of his efforts. “Very few complaints, a lot of satisfied customers, and enough at the end of the week for a good bottle of wine!”
Asked what his formula is for customer service, he said, “One, being on time; two, reputation; and three, the customer-contractor relationship.”
Being on time can be “one of the most difficult parts of the business” for a contractor, he added. “You can’t have breakdowns; you can’t have flat tires. My men show up all the time, (and) they’re always on time.”
At the end of the day, LoCasale still has two or three hours’ worth of work, and that’s generally when he returns phone calls from prospective customers. As a business, The Stoneman evolved, you might say, after LoCasale worked for a friend in the business and found out he liked it. Originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, his family spent summers at the shore.
“During the summertime growing up, I did everything from clamming, working at the A&P, and a friend of mine was doing this. I started working for him as a laborer. I was at Drexel University and they had a co-op, six months in and six months out, so I went out for six months and started The Stoneman business and stayed in it.
“So, I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I grow up, but I think I’m going to die The Stoneman!” he concluded with a grin.
The Stoneman can be reached at 609-494-4106 or 609-597-1767.
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