Granite firm forced to close
MILFORD - Northern Marble & Granite, one of the last granite businesses in Milford, has shut down. Once one of the largest granite and stone fabrication shops in New England, the company filed for Chapter 7 liquidation in October, according to Brice Repolt, the founder and former president. Repolt left the company in 2006 and founded BFR & Associates in Manchester, a supplier of stone and quartz surfacing. Northern Marble consisted of a fabrication plant on Oak Street and an office on Armory Road, on the former Barretto Quarry property. The quarry, now owned by Fletcher Granite of Westford, Mass., is still operating. It is the last active granite quarry in Milford, which once had 15 different granite quarries. It has been operating since the early 1900s. Repolt said he and Richard Ronzio Jr., Northern Marble's former general manager, are trying to buy the property and reopen Northern Marble under a new name. Repolt said Northern Marble once employed about 50 employees and 50 full-time contractors. The granite finishing plant on Oak Street was formerly owned by Barretto Granite and sold to Fletcher Granite in 1992. Four former Barretto employees, including Repolt and Richard Ronzio Sr., bought the finishing plant in 1993. Ronzio Sr. eventually became the company president. He could not be reached for comment. Granite was once a booming business in Milford, beginning in the late 1800s. The town became known as "The Granite Town" and generations of stone carvers, many of them Italian immigrants, quarried and finished memorials and sculpture used around the world. Thirty columns of the U.S. Treasury Building in Washington, D.C., were carved from Milford granite, and can be seen on the $10 bill. That granite was quarried from the Lovejoy Quarry in 1908. The columns "weighed 90 tons each and required the largest derrick in New England to lift them from the quarry," according to the town history "The Granite Town."