Five years ago, the partners started Sonoma Forge, a two-person shop that designs $1,200-$1,400 hand-forged and -finished fixtures to match Sonoma Cast Stone items. The fixtures are produced at a contract plant in Southern California.

For further expansion, Sonoma Cast Stone is opening a plant in Reynosa, Mexico, and courting three East Coast manufacturers for an acquisition, according to Mr. Rosenblatt. Set to open in mid summer with a dozen or so employees, the Mexican plant will chiefly make pavers and tiles. The company receives many specialized orders for those items but can't make them cost-effectively at its 23,000sf plant at 105 Fremont Drive in Schellville, he adds.

Other steps in the quest for national market share are the recent hiring of a research-and-development director and a home d?or public relations agency.

So far, Sonoma Cast Stone's growth from the basement of Mr. Rosenblatt's recycled plastic and concrete house to an old dairy barn at Hunter Winery to where the company is today has been self-funded. To go nationwide will take $7.5 million to $10 million for advertising and hiring service technicians, he figures. However, the partners want to avoid opening the spigot of company equity.

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