AGM Imports: Subtle of Dramatic Stone Slabs

AGM boasts 12,000 natural stone slabs company-wide,
2,500 of them in Charleston.For John Antunes, natural stone isn’t just a passion – it’s the family business. It began with Antunes’ father, who founded a stone company in their native Portugal and then passed the time-honed skills of the trade to his son. When Antunes moved to the United States and started a family, he followed in his father’s footsteps by passing his own knowledge of the family trade to his son, John Joseph.

In 1994, the family opened AGM Imports to help homeowners in the Southeast meet their natural stone needs. By 2003, the company also included warehouses in Atlanta and Charlotte to meet growing demand.

Today, AGM boasts 12,000 natural stone slabs company-wide, with 2,500 here in Charleston. To source the beautiful array of stones, Antunes puts his international connections and multilingual skills to work with buying trips all over the world.

“A majority of our granite comes from Brazil,” explained Office Manager Melanie Richardson. “India is our second largest supplier, and Africa is a close third. Our marbles hail from Italy and Spain, and our limestone and travertine are from Turkey and Portugal.”

The slabs are available at AGM to anyone in the market for natural stone. Open to the public, they serve homeowners, builders, designers and more.

The process upon visiting the showroom is pretty straightforward, said Richardson, noting, “Everyone is welcome to take a tour through our vast assortment of stone. Once you’ve made your selections, we will send that information along to your fabricator so they can work up a price for you.”

This year, Richardson explained, the biggest trend in natural stone is “white, white and more white,” as homeowners continue to lean toward clean and bright kitchen spaces.

In addition to white marbles, homeowners drawn to neutral stone will likely appreciate the quartzites, which Richardson said “tend to look more like marble with their softer patterns and lighter colors, yet they are just as hard as granite.”

Personally, Richardson can’t help but gravitate to bolder stones. In fact, she chose just such a stone for her own home.

“I have Crema Bordeaux in my kitchen,” she revealed. “It is full of color, which is exactly what I wanted. Reds, purples, grays ... you name it, it’s in there somewhere.”

Buyers like Richardson who prefer the more unusual stones will be pleased to find a selection of bold slabs immediately upon entering the warehouse. Right now, the most popular species among the distinctive stones are the Patagonia, Superior White and the Labradorite Extra Blue.

But whether subtle or dramatic, stone chosen at AGM can be used for a variety of applications – although some are better suited in certain areas than others.

For the kitchen, Richardson always suggests granite (“It’s the hardest and most durable natural stone”), which she said also works well for outdoor kitchens and fireplaces.

“Bathrooms are where I would suggest marble,” she elaborated. “They are lighter, softer colors that tend to look better in smaller areas that don’t always get the most light.”

For those wary of trying granite outdoors, AGM suggested Vetrazzo – a recycled glass product that comes in several colors and serves as a great conversation starter, too.

When asked why natural stone will remain a mainstay in home design, Richardson mused, “Its natural beauty is what attracts us to it, and I don’t believe that will ever change.”

To find out more about AGM Imports, visit agmimports.com or call 843-747-0088. The store, located at 4520 Scott St. in North Charleston, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

To find out more about AGM Imports, visit agmimports.com or call 843-747-0088. The store, located at 4520 Scott St. in North Charleston, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

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