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Entrepreneur tries to be more than just another brick in the wall

An entrepreneur has brought his own unique brand of stone veneer walling to Bermuda after finding a niche in the market for the product.

Karl Sternath, who runs Elite Crete Bermuda, decided to launch his new business selling Klimex having come across it in a DIY store in his homeland of Austria.

Having done his research on the market in the US and contacted the supplier based in Holland, he secured sole distribution rights for the product on the Island and took his first shipment last month.

Mr Sternath, who works with retail manager Huguette Vincent, said that he already had a market of between eight to 10 people and has been calling architects, interior designers and landscapers for business.

So far he has installed an interior wall at Smiles Inc in Dundonald Street, Hamilton and an exterior wall at a private home in Warwick and is hoping to generate some more trade through their showcase.

“The interest has been really fantastic so far,” he said. “I just walked into a DIY store in Austria and saw this product and thought how great it would be to have in Bermuda.”

The veneer comes in different colours and styles, from modern to contemporary and is available at a reasonable price around $12 to $16 per square foot, according to Mr Sternath.

“You can't find anything like it here,” he said. “This is a product that Bermuda has been waiting for for a long time.

“I think there's going to be a great demand for it here.”

Among the key selling points for the product are ease of installation, its thinness, meaning it doesn't take up much space, and low maintenance in that it is dirt or mould resistant unlike the traditional limestone walls, as well as adding an attractive look to the wall or fireplace it is on.

Its applications range from homes to businesses, including in receptions and entrance halls as well as main walls, with each stone being as unique as the next giving it a natural feel.

Mr Sternath came to Bermuda as a pastry chef at the Elbow Beach Hotel 30 years ago, prior to working in landscaping and then setting up his own flooring business three years ago specialising in concrete overlays.

Clients can select their product from the Klimex website and contact Mr Sternath or Ms Vincent to arrange a consultation with a lead time of between four to six weeks on all orders. All of the products can be custom-made to measure and can be applied using primer, unicol and sealant.

For more information contact 236-9677, email c.sternath[AT]elitecrete.com or visit the Klimex website at www.klimex.com

Walled in: Huguette Vincent, retail manager, and Karl Sternath, owner of Elite Crete Bermuda, with the newly-installed Klimex wall in Warwick. (Photo by Tamell Simons)

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Published March 11, 2011 at 9:30 am (Updated March 11, 2011 at 9:29 am)

Entrepreneur tries to be more than just another brick in the wall

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