Past U students open environmentally friendly home improvement shop

Twin Cities Granicrete is only store in metropolitan area that offers special types of countertop and flooring resurfacing.

 Lucy Stark co owns the Twin Cities Granicrete store with her boyfriend Patrick McGillvrey. Although Stark said she had originally expected business to be slow due to the economy, business has been booming since opening their doors three months ago.

Jules Ameel

Lucy Stark co owns the Twin Cities Granicrete store with her boyfriend Patrick McGillvrey. Although Stark said she had originally expected business to be slow due to the economy, business has been booming since opening their doors three months ago.

Two former University of Minnesota students recently opened a home improvement store that offers environmentally friendly floor and counter resurfacing. The store, Twin Cities Granicrete located in Minneapolis, is a subsidiary of the Phoenix based Granicrete International , Inc., which has more than 70 branch locations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, according to Granicrete customer service representative Andi Smith . Lucy Stark co-owns the Twin Cities store with her boyfriend Patrick McGillvrey. Stark said that originally she and co-owner McGillvrey had expected business to be slow because of the economy, but they were wrong. Since opening their doors three months ago, business has been booming. Stark said she thinks this is, ironically, thanks to the economy. âÄúItâÄôs a way for people who are trying to fill their homes and spruce them up look to make things looks so much nicer at such a cheaper price,âÄù Stark said. The material is cheaper because itâÄôs concrete instead of granite, and the surfaces are only 1/8 inch thick, said recent University of Minnesota-Duluth graduate David Dietz , who opened the only other Granicrete store in Minnesota, in Duluth. Granicrete materials are environmentally friendly because they simply resurface, which means old countertops and flooring do not need to be removed and therefore donâÄôt go into landfills, Stark said. Granicrete is also allegedly healthier than authentic granite because of the radiation granite has been accused of spreading, Stark said. An Environmental Protection Agency report on the risk of granite countertops said although the Agency sees the risk as low, there is the possibility of granite emitting radon as it decays. Apart from starting Granicrete businesses, patronizing college students also play a large part at the Minnesota Granicrete locations. Stark said Twin Cities Granicrete may offer certain discounts to college students in the future and she is looking to employ University students. âÄúWeâÄôre hoping to have a University based staff,âÄù Stark said. Jason Dobler , 35, is an enthusiastic Granicrete customer. Dobler said after his wife saw Granicrete on the home improvement network HGTV , the couple decided to redo their entire kitchen with the material. Dobler, a general contractor from St. Anthony , took a class with two other people at Granicrete earlier this summer. Dobler said he has become âÄúgreat friendsâÄù with Twin Cities Granicrete co-owner McGillvrey and redid his driveway with ten different Granicrete patterns as a marketing display for the company.