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Rick Herpel is Featured in Palm Beach Post

Palm Beach Post

February 7, 1993: Rick Herpel

herpel photoCompany name: Herpel Inc., West Palm Beach

Age: 42

Type of work: Cast stone: columns, architectural elements, balustrades, arches, furniture.

If there's a Mizner mansion that needs stone work, chances are Rick Herpel has been called to the job.

Herpel is the sixth generation of a family working in stone. Started in the 1860s in Connecticut, Herpel Inc. moved to Fort Lauderdale in 1920. In 1948, Herpel's father started a pilot company in West Palm Beach. When Rick joined his father in the late '60s, the company worked mostly in tile, brick and stone. But by 1977, it dealt mostly in cast stone.

The change put Herpel Inc. on the cutting edge a decade later, but at the time the shift was almost
premature. In the 1970s and early '80s, the slick, Regency style was in vogue - a style that did not call for cast stone. It had been out of style since the late 1920s.

"We were manufacturing stone in the early '80s, and we couldn't give it away," he said.

But in the mid-'80s, there was a resurgence of heavy ornamentation associated with the Mizner look.

"In '87, we had people lined up at the front door with plans when we came in," Herpel said. "We were in
the right place at the right time."

As a result, his business boomed, from about $200,000 five years ago to $2.5 million last year.

Herpel's client list reads like a Who's Who: from Donald Trump to former President Bush's friend Will
Farish to the Town of Palm Beach to Madonna and fashion designer Gianni Versace.

Herpel sees a parallel between his father's client list and his own.

"My father was working with the top consumers in his day - Cornelius Vanderbilt, Sonny Whitney and
Perry Como. Now in the '90s, I'm in the position my father was, only instead of Perry Como, I have Madonna."

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