Set in stone: Becoming a cornerstone
By Kris Leonhardt
“When we took it over, we pushed pretty hard to build it up to what we have now,” said Brain Hopperdietzel, whose father and grandfather bought Marshfield Marble & Granite in 1977 and renamed the business Marshfield Monument & Mausoleum. “We started at maybe 80 to 100 families a year that my dad serviced. To now I am at 800 families that we service.
“When (my father) first started, it was just around Marshfield. It wasn’t a huge service area. Within about 10 years, even less than 10 years, he was down in Adams County. He started to branch out a little bit farther than just around Marshfield to help get the customer base.
“Now my coverage area is about 80 to 100 miles around Marshfield.”
Hopperdietzel began working in the shop even before he was out of high school. After finishing high school he went on to study laser technology.
“(Laser technology) was such a new field. They were employing graduates so fast it kind of flooded the market, so by the time I was ready to graduate, the market was tough to get into,” recalled Hopperdietzel. “So my dad said, ‘Why don’t you come back and work for me for a while, and then let’s see where it goes from there?’ … and here I am.”
Marshfield Monument expanded into a computerized production company in 2002 and one year later into the old Severt’s Restaurant, opening a new addition in 2004.
Hopperdietzel would take over the business from his father, who by now had sole ownership in the company, and returned to college to get his business degree. He then spent his next years upgrading equipment in the shop, and the business became Marshfield Monument.
“I was fortunate that we’ve had some good years here,” explained Hopperdietzel. “I felt that upgrading was important for safety and productivity.”
“There have been quite a few other improvements since I have taken over,” said Hopperdietzel. “We have an in-house laser. It is 4 foot by 8 foot.
“The biggest project that I’ve done with it is the library project: the block stone listing the donors.
“What I just purchased in the spring was (the equipment to) do porcelain pictures in-house, whereas before I was shipping them out and having another company do the porcelain pictures for me.
“I want to be able to control the product and make sure that it is of good quality.”
In addition, Marshfield Monument creates benches and cremation markers, where ashen remains are placed right into the stone structures.
“We drill a hole in the granite, and we can put the ashes right into the stone, so they don’t necessarily have to bury the urn,” said Hopperdietzel. “We can put it right into the marker.”
As Marshfield Monument reaches 120 years in Marshfield, it has grown into a diversified stone product company.
In addition, it has become one of the oldest companies in the city doing business at its original location. It just carved out a larger slab.