SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – LBL Fabrications, a state-of-the-art stone-cutting fabrication company located at 200 Clinton St. in Springfield, held an open house Thursday, Oct. 24 to introduce the new owners, William and Stephen Drunsic, to dealers and contractors around New England.
When you walk through the front door of LBL, you enter a showroom featuring samples of locally sourced granite, soapstone, marble, and quartz. But behind the showroom, a door leads to a 60,000-square-foot facility that is one of the largest in New England where huge, high-tech CNC stone-cutting equipment produces custom countertop projects for the residential and commercial markets. This is not a retail operation; it is strictly for contractors.
The Springfield Regional Development Corporation bought the buildings at 200 Clinton St. in December from Artisan Surfaces, the latest in a long line of stonecutting operations and one that was losing money. Flint said he was looking to find new owners to revitalize the property and the Springfield area. The location for a potential buyer was ideal being so close to Interstate-91.
Steve Drunsic, the son of this father and son team, said he and his father were the former owners of a 35-year successful freight and commercial railroad business in Nashville, Tenn. and sold that business in January incurring capital gains as a result of the 2017 Tax Act.
With the assistance of Bob Flint, executive director of the SRDC, the Drunsics purchased the property Aug. 5, 2019 through an Opportunity Zone Program that targets economically depressed areas and allows the new owners with capital gains to reinvest with federal and state taxes deferred for up to 10 years. Springfield was identified as one of those areas. Flint said a good working relationship with the Drunsics developed out of a mutual need to accomplish each of their goals.
In the late 1800s, Springfield was located in the center of the Precision Valley region, home of the Vermont machine tool industry and, according to Drunsic, became known as the tool and die capital of New England. LBL’s number one product is countertops locally sourced from New England suppliers in New Hampshire and Vermont. Drunsic plans to bring back the dealer network and rebuild it working with those dealers who “took a hit” in the industry. The Drunsics kept the name LBL Fabrications and it is up and running now working with suppliers and customers within a radius of about two and a half hours drawing from Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and Massachusetts.
Drunsic, who said he envisions subdividing the huge space at some point to allow for another manufacturing tenant, said he ultimately sees a wholesale operation and plans to create the cleanest work environment possible in the industry. LBL acquired not only the business but an existing workforce of 10 and plans to hire an additional 10 employees from what Drunsic says is a large group of qualified workers in the area to draw from. He said although this type of business once required an employee force of up to 90, because of advancement in technology the operation can be done with about 20 people.
Drunsic said there are also plans for a lot of capital improvements, and he is working with Efficiency Vermont to replace the existing heating system with a wood pellet furnace.
Besides the showroom and fabricating area, LBL has offices for Bonnie Dedrick, product manager; Shawn Bartlett, manager; and Jeremiah Losee, installation manager. The administrative offices of LBL are run by the Drunsics from an office in Manchester. Steve Drunsic lives with his family in Dorset and said he commuted to Tennessee for years while the railroad business was operating. This new commute is considerably more preferable.
The SRDC currently owns the remaining buildings at 200 Clinton St. separated by a wall in the LBL facility, and Flint said those buildings will be demolished.