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Counter. Culture.

Two New Rock Stars Found the Perfect Match in PLI

Article by Pamela McWhorter

Photography by Matthew J. Capps

Originally published in Loveland Lifestyle

Did you hear about the CPA who went from counting dollars to creating countertops? It’s no joke, but instead, the real-life story of Lisa Benzinger—a longtime CPA who’s now the co-owner of The PLI Group, one of the area’s largest countertop fabricators. And it all started off, where else, but in the kitchen. 

Back in early 2020, Lisa was working at a firm specializing in mergers and acquisitions. The firm was representing the buyer and seller in a deal for The PLI Group. At the last minute, the buyer got cold feet and walked away from the purchase. However, what Lisa saw was a promising company with a solid operation that just needed some business TLC. 

That night, as she watched her husband, Ryan Wehner, make dinner in their kitchen, she brought it up. “I wish we could buy this company.” 

Ryan, who had then been at Fidelity for more than 16 years, didn’t hesitate. “Then, let’s do it,” he said.

That was on April 15, Tax Day. Less than six months later, on August 20, 2020, Lisa and Ryan closed and became The PLI Group’s new owners. And the rest is history? Not just yet—to say they were new to the fabrication business would be an understatement. 

“To be honest, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” she recalls. “I didn’t even know the difference between quartz and granite when we bought the company.”

Rock Solid Dedication
While Lisa and Ryan were fabrication newbies, the staff at PLI were seasoned pros—a well-honed crew that was passionate about the company and the work they do. In fact, more than 80% of the staff has been with PLI for five years or more.

“We’ve got amazing people. They love PLI,” smiles Lisa. “Everyone takes great pride in what we do, and we all get really excited when someone has a great install.”

And it’s that loyalty and commitment to making customers happy that really sets The PLI Group apart, according to Lisa. 

“In this industry, we can’t really sell you something unique,” Lisa admits. “Countertops are countertops. What makes us different is our customer service. We go above and beyond to make sure it’s a great experience.” 

That often starts with a complimentary consultation with one of PLI’s two salespeople, Gretchen and Paul. If a customer isn’t too sure of their room dimensions, PLI will come out to get measurements. Then, it’s off to select a slab at PLI’s showroom, which has 10,000 square feet of slabs. If a customer has a unique look in mind, PLI will send them to a vendor to select the slab. Once a slab is chosen, a project manager will schedule a templater to come to the house to get precise measurements with a laser—every job is laser templated to ensure a great fit.

Once templated, PLI’s engineers create a drawing that shows exactly what the countertop will look like. For exotic cuts or exact vein matches, Lisa says customers can utilize PLI’s Slabsmith™ service, which creates an ultra-precise rendering. After the rendering is approved, the project manager schedules the installation. 

“We have one of the quickest turnarounds in the city,” says Lisa. “We just did one in eight days—the whole process, design to install.”

While about half of PLI’s business comes from working with businesses such as homebuilders, remodelers and big-box retailers, Lisa understands that installing a granite or quartz countertop is no small investment for an individual homeowner. 

“Most people spend the majority of their time at home in their kitchen … it’s a gathering place, so we want to make sure our customers love the end result.”  

Customer satisfaction—it’s a bedrock value. From showroom walk-ins and complimentary consultations to custom work and more, when it comes to keeping their customers happy, The PLI Group will leave no stone unturned. | 1003 Tech Drive, Milford | 513.891.7858

Elegance Served on the Rocks
One recent PLI installation featured a basement bar, hearth and tabletop covered in quartzite, a naturally occurring high-end stone. It’s also heat-resistant, which makes it a good choice for a fireplace. PLI used their Slabsmith digital imaging to line up the veins so they run continuously to stunning effect. PLI works with contractors and their schedules to ensure a great partnership—Matt with The Finished Basement was the contractor on this project and appreciated the communication of the installation team.

For those who want to bring the look of quartz to an outside fireplace, grill or entertainment area, Lisa suggests using Dekton, a manufactured material that looks like quartz but is durable in sunlight as well as heat- and freeze-resistant.

Just Add Quartz
When another family wanted to update their kitchen, they chose white quartz from PLI for their countertops to complement their white and blue cabinets. They also converted part of their old dining room into a huge pantry—which meant less appliances on the countertops and more space for the white quartz to really shine through.