PF Custom Countertops

Creating beautiful countertops in a wide range of materials
Written by: 
Jeanee Dudley
Produced by: 
Sean O'Reilly

PF Custom Countertops (PFC) has been creating stunning surfaces since 1969, when Otto Holzapfel established the business. Otto came to Edmonton, Alberta, as an immigrant and began working at Clark Lumber in the city. The business inspired him to learn about a new product on the market, post-form laminate countertops. Otto became educated on the product and led production for the company. When Clark Lumber dropped the line from its production, Otto set out on his own. Starting as a small operation in his garage, he went on to build a successful local business that has grown for more than 35 years.

John Holzapfel, Otto’s son and now president of PFC, as well as Ed Holzapfel, John’s brother and vice president of PFC, now lead the company’s operations. John and Ed take pride in maintaining and building a second-generation brand that serves dealers throughout northern Alberta and British Columbia.

“I’ve been in the business all my life,” John recounts. “I started working in the summer when I was young, doing work around the shop. After high school, I went to get a college education in business administration. I returned with my new skillset to continue working for the family business.” Ed’s education as a journeyman cabinet maker gives him the skills and experience to manage the production operations of the business.

Quality countertops

After more than three decades, PFC has expanded its product line significantly. The business creates countertops in three main categories: laminate, solid acrylic surface products and natural and quartz stone surfaces. With around 85 employees, the company operates from a single location in Edmonton. With a 50,000-square foot manufacturing facility, PFC is able to turn around high quality, custom countertops to meet a wide range of tastes and functionalities.

Post-form laminate is still a major part of the business and PFC is the only manufacturer that builds countertops using this technique in the province. John’s team creates countertops formed with high-quality laminate rolled over particle board, covering all edges to build a clean, attractive product. These countertops offer the affordability of laminate without compromising aesthetics and the products remain popular with homebuilders and homeowners remodeling their kitchens and bathrooms.

PFC was one of the first companies in Alberta to work with acrylic solid surface materials; popular brand names include Corian and Himacs. “Solid surfaces allow us to fabricate countertops that are seamless when installed, including having sinks integrated into the countertop surface,” details John. “The end result is a one piece countertop.” These materials are very popular in the health care and food service industries due to seamless quality and its non porosity. According to John, these features virtually eliminate the ability of bacteria to grow on the counter surfaces.

The company’s product line includes quartz surfaces, a fast-growing product line that offers the natural aesthetic and hardness factor that attracts consumers to stone countertops, but with some distinct advantages over granite. These countertops are engineered stone, a man-made product that is durable and comes with an impressive warranty.

“This is a man-made product,” John notes, “utilizing natural quartz crystals and composite material. The manufacturing process makes the material strong, durable and less porous and with more color consistency than granite.”

Granite has been a trending material for the countertop business in recent ears. Natural stone is a popular theme for interiors and granite is strong, hard and durable. Despite the cost differential, many consumers are willing to invest in these luxurious countertops. Each granite countertop is one-of-a-kind, a strong draw for homeowners who want a functional statement piece for the kitchen.

Staying strong

PFC has built a reputation in the industry for high-quality products and lasting relationships with customers. The business caters to a wide range of requests, including custom colors, finishes and edges, allowing end users to make these pieces as unique as desired. PFC’s customers now that they can count on John and his team to deliver a high-quality product, to the specifications requested in a timely manner.

“One of the greatest points of pride for us is when our clients pass along letters from their customers saying how happy they are with their new kitchens,” John says. “At the end of the day, that is how we gauge our success. The things that are important to our customers, such as time of delivery and job accuracy, are the things that are important to us. Ours are often the last trades to go into a home, which makes it even more important for us to deliver on time.”

A track record for quality products and memorable service has kept PFC moving, even throughout the recent economic dip. “We have had some lean years,” John recalls. “Things were tight and there was certainly an impact on revenue. We have kept our eye on the details. We have seen a definite upswing in Alberta, especially because of the oil boom. If that industry is moving, we are all moving.”

As the local market flourishes, John and his team are looking ahead to steady business in the years to come. He has no major plans for expansion and wants his team to remain focused on the company’s main goals. As long as PF Custom Countertops continues to deliver high-quality countertops and leading service, John is content.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Formations, Inc.
Summum Granite