THUNDER BAY -- Superior Custom Granite was founded by Scott Ennis and his wife Melanie Perrier in 2014. Ennis had been working in the granite countertop business since 2004, and decided to branch out on his own.
Centrally located on Hewitson Street, Superior Custom Granite has a 4,000 square foot showroom and workshop, as well as a large lot with rows of granite, quartz and quartzite for customers to view. Unlike big box stores where potential buyers have to decide based on a small sample, here, customers can see their actual slab before committing to it.
Perrier works in the showroom with customers, while Ennis and their employees work in the back. They have a CNC (computer numerical control) machine that can cut, polish and finish stone surfaces. They take pride in measuring and installing in the same week, so that clients are not left without a kitchen for more than five days.
She says that people favour paler countertops now, and white-on-white (white cabinets with white countertops) are trending. Quartz, a man-made stone, is a popular choice, since it can imitate marble. “People want the marble look without the maintenance of marble,” Perrier says.
The company works with both residential and commercial customers, and Perrier is seeing more landlords and house flippers choosing stone for the kitchen. “Their time is valuable and they don’t want to be replacing old Arborite [laminate] countertops. They’re willing to spend a little extra. It’s increasing the value of their property, and a tenant can’t really damage the granite,” she explains.
Stone is one of the most enduring materials, and it has many applications. Perrier says they have done everything from repurposing old countertops into bathroom vanities or outdoor BBQ countertops, to using cutoffs to make window sills and benches, niches and ledges in the shower.
Most of the natural stones come from Brazil and India, but one, Blue Pearl, comes from Finland, says Perrier. “It’s very popular. It has a lot of mica and it’s silvery. Every time stone comes in, I love to see what Mother Nature has done - it always surprises me. I understand granite; I understand the beauty of it. Nothing really compares to it.”
“We love what we do, we are proud of what we have,” she says. Prior to starting the business with her husband, she had no business background, and it was a “scary venture,” she admits.
In the years since they opened, she says she has continued to learn and tries to push herself out of her comfort zone. When the pandemic made everything uncertain, they took it day by day. Some projects were postponed, but they were able to stay open.
“I’m pretty proud of Thunder Bay, of what we have done here,” she says. “Everybody’s been stressed and overwhelmed, but we pulled together as a community I think. I’m proud of our city and I'm proud to be a business owner in this city and I would recommend it to anybody.”