As Boston Granite Exchange celebrates our 25th anniversary in 2024, we’ve been reminiscing about the early years and discussing how much has changed in the past quarter century.

Recently, BGE’s co-founder, Pat Byrne, VP of Sales John Byrne, General Manager Bill Thomas and Accounting Manager Terri Feeney sat down to answer a few questions, share their reminiscences and have some laughs.

Where Did It All Begin?

Pat Byrne went back to the beginning. In 1999 he was contacted by a friend, who had a friend who was in Brazil and seeing beautiful granite for countertops, something that was only just beginning to be used in the US. This friend-of-a-friend reached out to encourage Pat, who at the time was a general contractor, to consider getting into the stone business. After appropriate due diligence, Pat and his partner decided to take the plunge.

Once the first order had been placed, they needed somewhere to store it.

An Inauspicious Beginning

At that time, John was working in South Boston and knew of a small warehouse that was available. When the first shipment arrived and was brought to Southie, the unloading, as it was described, brought to mind the Keystone Cops!

The granite was brought to the warehouse in South Boston via truck. The truck parked on D Street outside the building. They had rented a crane to lift the stone from the truck and put it in the warehouse. They began to unload.

Then the Boston Police arrived. They weren’t too pleased with the situation and told Pat they needed to hire a police detail to proceed. Once the detail was secured, they spent the rest of the day unloading – the same job now takes the skilled team at BGE about 45 minutes!

The first shipment included Uba Tuba and Butterfly granite. Uba Tuba was the top seller for their first 10 or 12 years in business.

Growing Pains in a Growing Industry

They worked from the Southie warehouse for about 6 months, but growing pains were almost immediate and they relocated to a larger warehouse in Lawrence where they stayed for a year. They purchased the first company truck when they moved to Lawrence. 

The next location was a larger warehouse space in Methuen that included outdoor and indoor space for viewing stones. It was around this time homeowners began to go to showrooms to see the stones in person. Brazil had become a major player in the natural stone market and the popularity of granite had increased exponentially in the residential market.

With the Methuen location well established, in 2004 they decided to open a second showroom south of Boston. They began with an office and a small space in Easton. By 2006 they had moved their South Shore location to West Bridgewater, where it remains today.

Around the same time, the north of Boston location once again needed more space. At this point, they decided that Boston Granite Exchange needed a permanent home in the form of a custom built space with offices and a showroom specifically designed for stone. They built and moved into their current location in Haverhill in 2006.

The group had a laugh over the lack of technology they faced in the early years. A Quickbooks spreadsheet kept track of inventory and masking tape written on in sharpie was the method to label each slab.

Boston Granite Exchange and the stone industry have come far in the intervening years. There’s still more to the story, so come back to read our next blog and more reminiscences from BGE. Since the early days, our inventory has grown dramatically, and we now offer the largest inventory of stones in New England. If you are planning a kitchen renovation, we invite you to visit us in West Bridgewater or Haverhill, MA to browse, get inspired and select a stone. Appointments aren’t needed and you are always welcome.