Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
Lonnie Shirkey has traveled and lived in many enviable places, such as Italy and Hawaii and other places around the globe.
"I was an Army brat," he says about his vast travel experience.
So it is no small thing, that when it came to putting down roots and opening a business, Shirkey settled in Woodward.
"This was what I called my home base through the years we were moving and I graduated from high school here," Shirkey said. "So it just made sense to open my business here."
Shirkey says he began business in Woodward first managing rental properties, then as a paint contractor and finally, in 2000 he and son J.P. Shirkey opened Ranger Construction - a home remodeling firm.
But now the entrepreneur and his son have channeled their passion for "that perfect accent" into a new business called Granite, Quartz and More.
In a way the new business is the pair's "pièce de résistance," since it combines their love for construction and building creative projects with the intense beauty of indigenous rock and how it sets off those finished projects, Lonnie Shirkey says.
"This is something we used to sub out when we were doing full remodels on homes," Lonnie Shirkey says. "But the subcontractors are from out of town and many times it was hard for us to get them to come back and fix problems. We are right here."
Indeed, commitment to a job well done in this town where the Shirkeys attend church, patronize restaurants and run into customers in the grocery store, is a top priority. Add to it, that each of these men is a quintessential perfectionist and you have the "perfect storm" for the perfect project.
"I want you to take people to your kitchen and show them," J.P. Shirkey said. "I want everyone to be able to be proud of what they've got."
The shop, a brand new building located on the corner of Oklahoma and First Street was constructed by son and father.
The building houses nearly 30 different, mammoth slabs of unique varieties of granite, some quartz and marble too if there is a call for it, Lonnie Shirkey said.
The slabs stand static and intimidating in a kind of museum of natural art.
They silently speak to a history of cataclysm involving multicolored rocks of all types, lava and other sediment carried millions of years ago by floods, eruptions and other disasters.
Deep blues, mixed with red, yellows, sage greens, even some that appears as metallic gold, paint a portrait of motion as it was formed, J.P. Shirkey said.
The huge slabs are used in everything from countertops, back splashes, board room tables, desks, outdoor kitchens, fireplace surrounds, mantels and hearths, Lonnie Shirkey said. And they can be used in projects of all budgets.
"There is everything from a job that could cost about $2,000 to you name it," he said.
The most recent interesting job the Shirkeys have been planning is for a local bank where there is a need for a larger board room table with a granite in-lay.
Besides housing their slabs indoors to better protect them from the elements, the Shirkeys also protect their customers by purchasing low-radon granite and quartz.
Granite, quartz and marble have, in the past, been linked in popular media reports as having a certain amount of radiation or radon gas, which escapes from the rock, J.P. Shirkey said.
That is why they choose to purchase their rocks from quarries where radiation testing on the slabs is performed.
That said, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, it is far more likely to have problems with radon gas or radiation regarding the porous ground your home is built upon than it is you will have with your granite or quartz countertops.
If you spend a little time with the Shirkey's in their store, you can see they are affected by the slabs of granite. Much like a museum curator, J.P. will follow you around and watch for a reaction to the many exotic stone patterns.
Then, he'll ask you which one speaks to you.
"I'm always looking for people's reactions because I want to bring in things people love," he said.