Vermont Marble Sale Is Off
By Bruce Edwards
November 9, 1992
Negotiations to sell the 122-year-old Vermont
Marble Company of Proctor to Gawet Marble and Granite
have broken off, according to a Gawet Company
Gawet president Monica Gawet said recently that
plans for the Center Rutland company to buy Vermont
Marble from Pluess Staufer Industries have been put
"on hold" after negotiations to buy the company fell
"We're very disappointed that things didn't work
out," said Gawet. She said the family-owned company
had been negotiating with Pluess Staufer since June to
buy the larger marble company, but those talks broke
off late last month. She declined to say if
negotiations would resume.
The Gawet Company recordly was close to
completing the deal, but Gawet declined to discuss in
detail why it fell through. Although it was
apparently not the only reason, Gawet said that
financing was one problem.
"The banks are extremely conservative and are
not ... supporting healthy Vermont businesses," said
Gawet, a formal federal bank auditor. "They don't
want to take any kind of risk."
Pluess Staufer spokesman Robert Congdon declined
to comment or even confirm that negotiations had taken
place with Gawet. Congdon said that Vermont Marble
has been for sale since shortly after Pluess Staufer
bought the company in 1976. He said the marble
company is still for sale and would continue to
operate as usual. He said Vermont Marble employs 70
workers at its plant and quarries.
The sale had it gone through would not have
included Vermont Marble's quarries or its power
division which provides electricity to the plant and
to the Town of Proctor, according to a source familiar
with the negotiations who spoke on condition of
Pluess Staufer Industries is owned by Pluess
Staufer AG of Oftringen, Switzerland, a multi-national
company and the world's largest manufacture of calcium
carbonate, a filler used extensively in the
manufacture of paint, paper, and plastics products.
The company reportedly paid between $7 million
and $10 million in 1976 for the stock in Vermont
Marble and its subsidiary businesses, according to
sources familiar with the sale. The proceeds from the
sale went to the Robert and Mortimer Proctor family
trusts and to some 90 stockholders.
Pluess Staufer's main interest in acquiring
Vermont Marble was for its large marble reserves
particularly the Danby and the Brandon-Middlebury
Marble, along with chalk and limestone, are the
three minerals that are used in the manufacture of
calcium carbonate. Among its U.S. holdings, the
company operates a large calcium carbonate operation
in Florence and a limestone operation in California.
Vermont Marble specializes in the structural
stone business and provides headstones for the
Veteran's Administration. The company has landed
several (unreadable) contracts in recent years,
including the Canary Wharf project in London.
However, Congdon said the structural stone business
had been in a slump for the past three years.
Gawet, on the other hand, said her business had
seen a slight increase over the past year. In
particular, she said there had been a healthy increase
in commercial and residential orders in the $50,000 to
$100,000 price range. Gawet also does a significant
amount of monument and headstone work, including
The sale of Vermont Marble to the Swiss company
was noteworthy at this time because it marked the end
of the Proctor family's control of the company that
was founded in 1870 by Col. Redfield Proctor. The
Proctor family not only became an economic force in
the state, but in political force in local and state
politics. Over the years four Proctors served as
governor of Vermont.