- Helping his dad at work was Frank’s Marble & Granite owner Carmine Pantano’s first job.
- ¿Quieres leer esto en español? Haga clic aquí.
Wet saws and sanders have been grinding away at stone slabs for the past 50 years at Frank’s Marble & Granite in Red Lion. Carmine Pantano, the owner and son of founder Frank Pantano, knows those sounds well.
Frank launched the business after moving to the United States from Italy, only a few years before Carmine was born. It was the only job Carmine knew growing up. Every weekend throughout his teenage years was spent installing kitchen counters with his dad.
When he graduated from Dallastown Area High School in 1994, though, Carmine had no plan to take over the family business. He left for Penn State York to study mechanical engineering.
“I had to figure things out on my own,” he says. “I mentor a lot of people and tell them the same thing. Let your kids figure it out on their own.”
Embracing the best
Two years into college, Carmine missed working with his hands. He quit school and came back to Frank’s Marble & Granite full time.
He and his dad began traveling the world to explore new technologies. In the early 2000s, they discovered Computer Numerical Control (CNC) equipment during a trip to Italy. Machines controlled by a computer instead of by levers would be a gamechanger for the business.
“My dad was at a trade show,” Carmine recalls. “He said, ‘There’s a machine here. This is what we’re looking for. Are you prepared?’ I said, ‘Let’s make it happen.’”
The first CNC machine they bought cost half a million dollars — the biggest investment the business had ever made. From that point, Carmine knew he was in for the long haul.
Since then, Carmine is regularly updating technology and has committed to purchasing only American-made machinery.
By 2017, Frank had been semi-retired for several years while Carmine ran the day-to-day operations. Frank would come in each morning, make Carmine a breakfast sandwich and an espresso.
Later that year, though, tragedy struck when Frank died after a vehicle accident at the business.
“It was really hard,” Carmine says. “I sat there and said, he was such a workaholic, he would be mad if I closed.”
The team pulled together and installed all the Thursday and Friday orders before shutting down for two weeks.
‘Go for it’
Carmine continued to throw himself into his work after his dad’s death. While he admits that running a small business isn’t easy, he loves it.
“If you’re thinking of getting into business for yourself, go for it,” he says. “It’s not for everyone, but if it’s in your mind to try it, try it.”
At the end of the day, Carmine knows that he’s giving jobs to over a dozen people in his community. As the president of the Buy Local Coalition, he has a passion for seeing small businesses succeed in York.
“I’ve traveled the world. I’ve been to lots of different places,” he says. “Sure, there’s lots of other great places, but when you come back to York, it’s home.”