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No man-made materials

are used in the company's

projects; instead it offers a variety of natural stone

by Kris Ann Hegle

SBJ Contributing Writer

Craftsmanship speaks for itself. Maybe that's why Denny and Jane Hush, owners of Ozark Mountain Granite Co., would rather show you their work instead of talk about it.

Indeed, you don't have to travel very far to see the wide variety of custom stone work done by their company. A few of their customers include Zio's Italian Kitchen, Mr. Yen's and First Card in Springfield, and the Chateau on the Lake, Big Cedar Lodge and Landry's Seafood in Branson.

Homes in Millwood, Fremont Hills, The Terraces, Emerald Park, Highland Springs and Ravenwood South also contain their stonework.

"We make all kinds of things out of stone," Denny Hush said. "Vanities, showers, tubs, countertops, fireplaces, table tops anything you can imagine. We are full-service stone fabricators. We do everything from taking the measurements to cutting the stone and installing it. Every job we do is custom. Nothing is pre-fab."

Ozark Mountain Granite doesn't use any man-made materials on its jobs, according to Denny Hush. Instead, the company uses a variety of natural stones, such as marble, granite, limestone, onyx and travertine.

The stone itself comes from countries ranging from Norway to Brazil. The company also offers ceramic tile from Walker-Zanger, which manufactures a variety of decorative, high-grade tile.

"In this business, you have to have the right tools," Denny Hush said. "It's not only a skilled trade, it's an equipment trade. You have to know what tools to use to get a good, clean cut because the consistency of the stone varies."

At Ozark Mountain Granite, a boom is used to lower heavy stone slabs from delivery trucks. During the fabrication process, workers use a variety of milling, grinding and polishing equipment. One of the company's most important pieces of machinery, however, is a large overhead saw.

"Some stone importers won't sell to you unless you have an overhead saw," Denny Hush said. "You need special equipment like this to do a professional job."

In the last five years, the Hushes have seen the demand for their services increase dramatically. Denny Hush attributed the increase to a healthy economy and new technology that allows certain types of granite, which were once unavailable, to be extracted and marketed more cheaply.

"Cost is a factor," Jane Hush added. "For instance, you can spend a little bit more and get a solid granite countertop. Sometimes, the granite is even cheaper than some man-made solid surfacing materials."

Five years ago, when the Hushes started Ozark Mountain Granite, the company had two employees, and all the work was done in a 1,700-square-foot facility, which contained one overhead saw.

Today the business, which is located at 6545 N. Hwy. 65 in Ozark, employs seven workers and has a 16,000-square-foot shop. A new 4,000-square-foot showroom is being added, and the Hushes have purchased a 5,000-square-foot building next door.

"Within the next three years, we'll double in size," Denny Hush said. "More importantly, we'll keep our quality high. Right now, our workers average about 45 hours a week. When we're busy, they may work as much as 70 hours a week. We don't rush and hurry to push things out the door. This is a specialized trade, and everybody is proud of the work they do."

According to Jane Hush, putting out the final product is truly a team effort. It's also a family effort. All of the Hushes are involved in the business.

Denny, who has a background in construction and renovations, measures and installs the stone work. Jane, his wife, is in charge of sales and is the company's purchasing agent. Their daughter, Jenny Young, is the bookkeeper, and Jenny's husband, Ronnie, works as a stone fabricator in the shop.

"Employees can make you or break you," Jane Hush said. "Our employees really care about their work."

The Hushes are members of the Ozark Chamber of Commerce and the Springfield Home Builders Association.

Recently, they donated and installed

all of the stonework at the Springfield Home Builders Association's new headquarters.

"Springfield has been very good to us," Denny Hush said. "A lot of our business comes from repeat customers, such as builders and designers. The area is growing steadily, and we will continue to grow along with it."

PHOTO CAPTION:

Denny Hush, his family and employees rely on skilled craftsmanship and proper equipment at the 5-year-old Ozark business. [[In-content Ad]]

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