Rachel Forte-Tuttle and John Tuttle got into the stone business thanks
to a case of mistaken identity, and have made the most of it, establishing
a company that supplies imported granite and marble up and down the
they were in Brazil working out wedding details at a hotel, a Brazilian
mistook John for a business contact he was supposed to meet, and engaged
him in conversation about granite imports. John, with minimal Portuguese,
and the businessman, who had limited English, eventually figured out
that they had a couple of things in common even if John was the “wrong
guy.” John had a friend in Canada who worked with stone and the
businessman was from the same town in Brazil that John’s fiancé,
Rachel, was from. The rest is history.
Stone has been serving the region since 2003 and moved to the north
side of Hollister just east of Los Carneros Road last summer.
couple imports granite and marble, in a wide variety of colors and patterns,
including greens, blues, golds and greys, directly from the source in
Brazil, Peru, the Middle East and Italy, and sells wholesale to fabricators
— contractors who cut and install the stone in homes, restaurants
and offices. It’s used for indoor and outdoor countertops, shower
walls, bars and tabletops in commercial establishments and a number
of other areas.
the Tuttles say they’re wholesalers, that doesn’t mean they
don’t deal with individuals; in fact, that’s what they do
all the time. Home and business owners go to Forte at 6464 Hollister
Ave. to see and touch specific pieces of stone and decide exactly what
they want for their personal projects; the Tuttles then work closely
with architects, contractors and designers involved with the project.
like to be able to see the variety of stone we have here,” said
John, who added they are always moving pieces around so people can see
anything they want to, not just the pieces in the front of stacks of
couple travels internationally to see stone and continue expanding their
circle of contacts. Rachel just recently returned from a show in Brazil.
Shipments typically take 6-8 weeks to arrive from Europe and Brazil
and 2-3 weeks from Peru, Rachel said. Italy and Brazil are considered
the international hubs of the business.
Rachel’s hometown is the most important producer of marble and
granite in Brazil, her family was not involved with the stone business.
Her father works in real estate and her mother was a longtime teacher.
from San Diego, is a graduate of Westmont College, where he was also
a member of the school’s soccer team. He has coached soccer at
San Marcos High School and with Futbol Club of Santa Barbara.
from Santo Cachoeiro de Itapemirim in Brazil, worked in the export-import
business there, and came to Santa Barbara as an exchange student. The
two met at Butterfly Beach.
“I came for six months,” she said with a smile, “and
here I am, 14 years later.” The couple’s son, Kaio, is 4
½, and their daughter Livia is almost 2.
of the Tuttles take pride in their business and work to ensure that
their customers are happy with their decisions. They also strive to
be more than competitive with larger suppliers.
we buy well, we pass it on,” said Rachel, who noted she tries
to give back all the good things she’s experienced since she moved
to the South Coast. “Our service is very personalized.”
more information, call 963-9493 or visit www.fortestone.com.
Photo by Martha Lannan