Life in the Triangle

In 1999, my wife Kathy and I moved to The Triangle Area of North Carolina from California. Interesting area, the Triangle. Here are some of our experiences.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Garner TV and Appliance, Part II

In a previous post, I talked about updating our kitchen and purchasing all the new appliances at Garner TV and Appliance. As it turns out, we did just that. After visiting the store at my convenience to see what they had to offer, and after speaking to sales representatives at Garner TV and Appliance, I went home to do my homework.

I knew that much of the research I needed to do I could do at home on the Internet - that's just the way I get my information. Any questions I'd have I could wait till I spoke to the salesperson on the floor.

So using the data from Garner TV and Appliance and the WWW, I made my final choices. We were prepared to buy a microwave, a dishwasher, a range, and a refrigerator.

Salesperson Rich Holland, the gentleman who was so helpful during our washer purchase, was happy to help me understand all the features of the selections I had made. He worked with me through the ordering process, during which he and his colleagues presented an air of professionalism and courtesy one would expect when making such a relatively large personal purchase.

I had a rough idea of what the total was going to be based on Internet prices. Given our experience with the washer, I now had somewhat of an expectation that the costs for the four appliances may be around or even slightly less than the Internet totals. Sure enough, that was the case. With the exception of the range, the remaining costs were about the same as the prices I could get on the Internet. The range was slightly higher, but certainly not enough to make me want to purchase this or any other appliance elsewhere than Garner TV and Appliance.

Rich was also able to work with me for a particular delivery concern I had, which shows this establishment's willingness to go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction. Speaking of the extra mile, Rich actually drove out of his way to my house to deliver to me a broiler pan after I learned the oven was missing the part. (It turns out, GE stopped shipping the pan with the oven, but the owner's manual still referenced it.) How many appliance salespeople do you know who make house calls?

Bottom line, you probably can't get any better than Garner TV and Appliance for your appliance purchases if you live in the Triangle area. Do yourself a favor next time you're in the market for good service and prices on your appliance purchases and give Garner TV and Appliance a call at (919) 772-3757.

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Mogastone - Granite Countertops

Kathy and I had always wanted to get granite countertops in our kitchen. We finally decided to give it a go this year. Knowing practically nothing about the process, we thought we'd attend the Southern Ideal Home Show at the Raleigh Fairgrounds to learn more.

The first place we hit was the Mogastone display, which was run by Constantine and Anca Moga that night. We were really impressed with that which they had to offer, and their prices seemed reasonable as well.

We had also looked at several other counter fabricators at the home show.

After the show, I visited a granite wholesaler, Marva Marble and Granite, Inc, where Regional Sales Manager Craig Johnson provided me with a list of other fabricators. (Craig would eventually help us choose from his large collection the slab from which our counters would be made.)

The Homework

Then the real research began. In all, I had consulted with and had received quotes from the following granite fabricators:

  • AB Stone Boutique
  • Absolute Stone Corporation
  • Atlantic Countertops & Accessories, Inc
  • Capitol Granite & Marble
  • Design Surfaces
  • Luck Stone
  • Mogastone, Inc
  • Stone & Tile Creations, Inc
  • WorldGranite & StoneArt, Inc

By the time I was done, I believed I knew more about granite countertops than I would ever have thought I would want to know. Most, but not all, of the fabricators were very knowledgeable and seemed good candidates for our kitchen project.

The decision was toughened by the fact that most of the bids came within just a few hundred dollars of each other for the particular granite we had specified, when the costs of "extras" were considered. The quotes varied depending on the inclusion/exclusion and costs of the following:

  • Teardown and removal of old countertops
  • Plumbing and electrical work
  • Undermount cutout of sink
  • Edging

When apples were compared to apples, Mogastone came in at the lowest bid, by less than a hundred dollars. However, I had a $300 discount coupon from Moga for having seen their display at the Home Show, so that brought the total to become a significant enough difference to shoot them ahead of the pack. Plus I felt I could work with the Mogas - not every countertop company made me feel that way.

So Mogastone was to become our granite fabricator.

All in the Family

Moga is a family owned and run business. Anca Moga, the daughter-in-law, is in Sales and answered all my questions with competence and compassion. She is friendly and courteous. I was impressed when she recognized me from the Home Show the moment I walked in the door.

Nick Moga, the father, arrived to measure our counter requirements and draft the contract. He is a solid businessman with a good eye for high quality results.

Emil Moga, a son, came on installation day with a crew of three. He is professional and highly knowledgeable and capable. He didn't only supervise the installation, but also put in some muscle where needed (and when it comes to granite, you need to have muscle.)

Constantine Moga, a son, also came by to take a look at the installation. He showed the same professionalism and enthusiasm of the project as his brother.

Emil's crew was courteous and took great care to keep our kitchen damage-free during the installation. One thing I noticed was that they did not make me feel like I was in their way as I traveled about. It was as if they were guests in my kitchen. Only unlike most houseguests, these guys swept up after themselves. When they left, there was no sign that a deconstruction/construction crew had been present - just great countertops.

Turn Around

One thing that startled me was the turnaround of this project. Nick showed up on my doorstep on a Wednesday to take the exact measurements, and we had our countertops completed Thursday, THE VERY NEXT DAY!

That said, a disclaimer. First of all, Nick and Company told me they usually try to turn a project around in a week or less. We were leaving town that Friday and Nick had concerns over our proposed install date, so he offered to bring in the date. I think we lucked out on our 24 hour turnaround - perhaps they had a cancellation or maybe they had a huge job the next week and wanted us to avoid a big delay. If you are considering Moga for your countertops, expect that there will be several days between measure and install. Still, that's better than the two or three week estimates given by some of the other installers. And a few of them require the old counters to be removed in order to measure. Not so Moga.


Nick Moga and his family seem to have a rock solid hold on the countertop business. Unlike most of the other fabricators, Mogastone does not charge extra for undersink mounts, old counter tearout, and edging treatments.

If you are in the market for granite or marble countertops in the Triangle area, and get the chance to visit their Cary office, don't look for a fancy building like some of the other fabricators. Mogastone concentrates its resources on providing good service and quality workmanship at a great value. So if you are looking to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom to granite or marble, look no further than Mogastone to get what you want.

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