The Story of Affinity Stone

Behind every single piece of Affinity Stone, there is the partnership between two close friends. Whether it’s the rich hues of the Copper Creek line or the stark pale of the Glacier, the vision that Dave Witbeck and Chad Yoder had over a decade ago is still there. Dave and Chad are the two founders of Affinity Stone, a line of gorgeous stone veneer that is used to transform the exterior and interior of homes and businesses.  

While a well-built and inspiring product has always been the standard to which they’ve designed, there’s more to Affinity Stone than just building materials. It’s all about people, the relationships they built, and the experience they can deliver. (After all, their tagline is “Get Attached”!

“Customer feedback is the most inspiring thing to us. Seeing that people are excited about the product when it’s installed on their home or business really drives us!” Dave says. “Plus, we love hearing how easy it is to work with Affinity Stone from the hardworking contractors and builders who work with it on a daily basis. People really are paramount at Affinity Stone.”  

The Beginning of the Dream Team  

This mission to deliver something outstanding for real people has inspired this duo from the very beginning. Dave and Chad met for the first time back in the Fall of 2006. Their wives knew each other and thought that the two should meet to talk business. From the first auspicious meeting over a leisurely meal at a Cracker Barrel, the two realized there was a connection. Both Chad and Dave had a background with other family manufacturing companies – and both were ready to try something new. Since they were ready to jump in and get started, Dave and his family moved from South Carolina to Illinois, where Chad lived, to dedicate himself to this new project and new chapter! 

Together, the pair started a business designing and building premium building products, and they called it Stone Creek Products (the banner that Affinity Stone is under today). There were long planning sessions, tons of brainstorming, as well as plenty of honest conversation about the joys and challenges of being business partners. Not only did they choose this field because they had familiarity with it, but also because they wanted to develop products that they themselves would use in their homes.  

“Chad and I both have a particular eye for quality and a love of home improvement. We wanted to build a product that would meet our own extremely high standards!” Dave recalls.  

While stone siding and stone column wraps are their flagship products today, the first product they built was luxury pavers. They were known for their bold and gorgeous colors and the all-around quality that would enhance a wide range of different outdoor spaces.  

Dave and Chad discovered in just a few short months preparing for their first ever product launch that they were something of a dream team. While they both shared the same integrity and relationship-first values, they were something of polar opposites where their skill sets were concerned.  

“My lane is in organizing and setting up structures to make things work,” Chad describes. “I analyze problems and I workshop solutions that make an idea or a dream into a reality. Examining an issue from multiple perspectives is one of my biggest skill sets!” 

Dave’s skills couldn’t be more complementary: “While Chad is great with people, too, I always say that I get them excited, and he delivers,” Dave explains. “You could say I’m the sizzle and he’s the steak!”   

Breaking through in Tough Times  

While their launch went relatively smoothly, the times that followed were anything but. Stone Creek Products had only been in business for one month before the entire economic landscape was rocked by the 2008 mortgage crisis and the recession that followed. Suffice to say, times were uncertain for the new business. But Dave and Chad were committed to their line of pavers, their dream, and their partnership.   

“It was absolutely terrifying,” Dave remembers. “But in reality, the timing couldn’t have been more ideal!” 

Although competition was high, and distributors like to sell what they already know, the duo’s persistence paid off! They had truly gorgeous colors – and the personal attention that they provided made a huge difference. While every other company in the industry was left reeling and trying to adapt to these new circumstances, Stone Creek had just started and was ready to go! Compared to enormous other manufacturers, they were lean and nimble. While their competitors were also great companies, the experience of working with a small and responsive company (just the two of them) was a breath of fresh air to their distributors.

“We had no overhead, so we just ran around the Mid-West making connections and selling products,” Dave says. 

That meant countless conversations and product demos, which further reinforced for Dave and Chad just how essential the personal element was to them. This meant great sales and big growth at a time when people were even more excited about home improvement.     

“During the mortgage crisis, people weren’t buying new houses or traveling as much; they were spending money on remodels and renovations,” Chad remembers. “Ultimately price, quality, and service mattered – and we delivered all of that.” 

Focus on Affinity Stone  

Stone Creek Product’s pavers and their other products proved successful in the Mid-West. However, there was still room to grow and space to innovate. In 2018, Dave and Chad wanted to develop something unique to expand even further. Just like they had done a decade before, they were ready to craft something that would take the market by storm and allow them to expand beyond their Mid-West niche. 

That’s how they developed the idea for Affinity Stone – a stone veneer that would provide truly realistic, jaw-dropping styles for homeowners and business owners. However, Affinity Stone was designed to provide a handful of game-changing practical benefits as well. Compared to the old-school way of placing stone veneer, their innovative panels would save installation professionals serious amounts of time, taking 80% less time to install. Not only that, but the pair wanted to make the price as affordable as possible – so more and more people would be able to enjoy these unique styles.  

“Affinity Stone was a smash hit almost right away!” Dave says proudly. “We kept hearing again and again just how ready everyone was for a product like this and how excited they were to get their hands on it. It was then we knew we could really go somewhere with this. We have a passion for innovation for new products. We truly plan to go to coast-to-coast!” 

Affinity Stone is now a popular brand that customers love for its authentic beauty – and contractors love for its convenience factor. Their stone panels have transformed a truly huge variety of spaces from home exteriors to commercial spaces like office conference rooms, upscale bathrooms, restaurant interiors, and much more. As Affinity Stone is being sold in more lumber yards and building supply stores than ever, the company has grown rapidly and continues to do so. A far cry from just Dave and Chad driving around the Mid-West, they’ve built a fantastic team around them. While giving up total control would stress out some business owners who built something from the ground up, they love it!  

“There’s no question that we have an extraordinary team. From product engineering and new product development to our production team, we truly have great people,” Chad recounts.  

This is a special joy for Dave as well. “My passion has always been for people – more so than personal provision. I really appreciate being an employer and helping the next wave of business leaders grow. I have a passion for leadership development – and I hope my mentees go further than me.” 

What’s Next  

While the Affinity Stone line is growing rapidly (check for it at a building supply store near you!), the two intrepid entrepreneurs are still laser focused on continuing to build and expand Affinity Stone. In the near future,  Dave and Chad plan on turning their attention towards business coaching for young professionals.  

“When I was in my 20’s and 30’s, I was focused on growing my accomplishments and pursuing my dreams,” Dave explains. “As I moved into my 40’s, my focus shifted drastically to how I can set the stage for the dreamers and risk takers of future generations.”  

Just like the partnership – and sincere friendship – of Dave and Chad is behind Affinity Stone, it will also be a common thread of whatever this duo tackles. As they develop new product lines and expand the reach of Affinity Stone, as well as mentoring the next generation, they’ll be working side-by-side.    

“We’re in this thing together until the end,” Dave attests. “I’ve never had a closer friend.” A sentiment that Chad echoes.  

Learn more about Affinity Stone by visiting their website, finding them on Facebook or Instagram, and looking for their products in a store near you!   

Elena Ognivtseva

Elena Ognivtseva

Nutritionist, Cornell University, MS I believe that nutrition science is a wonderful helper both for the preventive improvement of health and adjunctive therapy in treatment. My goal is to help people improve their health and well-being without torturing themselves with unnecessary dietary restrictions. I am a supporter of a healthy lifestyle – I play sports, cycle, and swim in the lake all year round. With my work, I have been featured in Vice, Country Living, Harrods magazine, Daily Telegraph, Grazia, Women's Health, and other media outlets.