Miles Chaffee is founder and president of Milestone Imports, the largest importer of Mexican porphyry in the United States.
Seven years ago, Chaffee
obtained exclusive rights to the largest porphyry quarry in Mexico, and now distributes the porphyry throughout North America and Asia.
Today, Milestone Imports
represents porphyry quarries from around the world incluging Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and China.
Working with AEC Daily.com, Chaffee has developed a course called "Porphyry as a Permeable Pavement," offering free educational learning credits to more than 12 organizations in Canada and the United States.
also presents seminars on different and historical methods of setting Porphyry pavers.
The seminar was led by Ettore Fagoni, a master mason from Italy, and Miles Chaffee, owner of Milestone Imports, the nation's largest importer of Mexican porphyry.
"The stone is basically indestructible," said Chaffee
"Porphyry's durability, beauty and functionality is fantastic," said Chaffee
said they picked up the skill very easily and quickly.
There are infinite possibilities with the stone.
describes it as an artist expression.
said in the U.S., his
company has seen a phenomenal growth even in the hard economical period.
"People buy this not only because of the green movement, but also because of the appreciation for its aesthetic beauty," said Chaffee
has seen the stone used for sidewalks, crosswalks, city streets, in shopping centers, whole roads in Mexico and smaller sections of roads in the U.S.
said this is the rebirth of architectural landscape even though it's an old idea.
"I have done work in Charleston and Savannah, but I haven't done any work in South Carolina yet.
Company founder Miles Chaffee expects his business to at least double and perhaps triple in 2009, with sales exceeding $2 million.
is building a national sales team, hiring 35 regional representatives this year.
"Traditionally, much of the porphyry coming out of Europe and China has a gray to muddy color, but our porphyry from Mexico is reddish and gold and this is our competitive difference," said Chaffee
, whose Milestone retail store in Santa Fe carries a variety of tiles and stone flooring.
Milestone owner Miles Chaffee said the piles of rock are scooped up with a bulldozer.
said the stone is essentially maintenance free, impervious to chemicals, undamaged by harsh weather, and compliant with national American with Disability Act standards for smoothness and slip resistance.
said the stone is a well-priced alternative to other materials for patios and small areas but falls into the high end on cost when used for driveways or roads.
In Santa Fe, N.M., stone dealer Miles Chaffee
of Milestone Stone & Tile Resource bought the North American rights to distribute the stone in the two colors available from that mountain -- gray and reddish brown (www.milestonenm.com).
This January, he
signed a local distributor, Eastern Shore Landscape Co.
, in Chestertown, Md. (410-758-2267).
Milestone's president and founder, Miles Chaffee, expects to nearly triple his annual revenue this year (over 2008 sales).
is selling approximately 5,000 tons of porphyry stone per year in the United States and Canada.
"Builders, architects, developers and consumers are catching on to porphyry and its numerous advantages in paving and other projects.
It's more that just a pretty stone," said Chaffee
"Porphyry and its enduring, and endearing, qualities of old world beauty, hardness, impermeability, chemical resistance, resistance to freeze/thaw, 'green' attributes and long-term affordability is making this material a major player in the multi-billion dollar stone-paving industry."
began to see significant increases in the sale of his
imported stone in 2002, and the market has yet to slow down.
said city planners and university architects are increasingly learning about the aesthetic and sustainable benefits of porphyry, and they're calling on his
company to provide the material.
With the Mexico porphyry quarry being a mere six hours from Laredo, Texas, Milestone Imports
has the crucial advantage to provide porphyry faster and more economically than most competitors, Chaffee
, at right, formed Milestone Imports to introduce the volcanic rock porphyry to New Mexico's landscape, as seen to the right. the magenta stone is being used to pave driveways, paths and courtyards.
Company Name: Milestone Imports Owner: Miles Chaffee
Address: 1000 Cordova Place, Santa Fe
Phone: (505) 989 . 1999
It took a year and a half of raising awareness about porphyry for Chaffee
to sell the rock in Santa Fe.
Despite the recession, Milestone Imports sold $4 million worth of porphyry last year, and the company could double that this year, says owner Miles Chaffee.
"It's one of these products that's only limited by your imagination," he
And while porphyry might come with a European pedigree, it costs the customer about the same as flagstone - roughly $7.50 per square foot, he
In 1998, when Chaffee
first truckloads of Mexican porphyry to Santa Fe, there were few takers.
"Nobody was really aware of the product," he
says, "it took me a year and a half to sell them."
kept up his porphyry awareness campaign - bringing in an Italian mason to hold workshops on installing the rock, hitting trade shows around the country and advertising in northern Mew Mexico magazines such as Mountain Living and Su Casa.
Porphyry is Milestone
Imports' sole product, but Chaffee
also has a more traditional stone company called Milestone that sells other products.
"Working with a really high-quality company and people has really paid off for us," he
says, referring to the Italian company in Mexico that quarries the stone.
"We're reaching into the past to design the future," Chaffee
"The phone is ringing," Chaffee
says, "As we get the word out, and people realize the durability and the beauty of it, it just seems to keep expanding for us."