We recently tried to calculate how much tile our company had installed in its 48 years in the ceramic tile industry. We came up with more than 5 million square feet, so, odds are that if you’ve spent much time in houses or businesses in Raleigh and the surrounding area, you’ve seen some of our work.
We’ve worked in many residential neighborhoods, banks, churches, and office buildings, and most of our work is standing strong and beautiful. We’re proud of that, (though it may not be such a comfort to those who live with those ‘perfectly good’ pink or sky-blue tiles of the 70s. We’ve even seen one of our mud-set showers survive an area tornado when the house that surrounded it was obliterated.
Tile is meant to last, and, on the residential side, we’ve no doubt installed more of it in our area than any other tile business around. However, quantity doesn’t really tell the story of our business. Others who install commercial tile could easily surpass our numbers with their malls and schools.
Perhaps quality and technical proficiency set us apart more than volume? Our certified installers are among the most talented in the industry; our superintendents are passionate about the trade; our company leaders are on national boards and committees and help write the tile installation standards used throughout the world. We believe we are among the most capable and knowledgeable installation contractors in the country.
But our story is not one sufficiently explained by quality either. I think the story of our business is better told by how our staff reacted to an unhappy customer on Thursday. She called us to task for something that went wrong on her job 10 years ago, and our staff reacted with the genuine concern of people who care about what they do. Her statements weren’t dismissed or excused, and the primary point of all the ensuing conversations was ‘how can we make this right now?’ Yes, 10 years later, it still matters to us!
Most of us have been with the company more than 15 years, and we take our work and the satisfaction of our customers personally. Ours is a family business in that a family owns it, but ours is also a ‘family company’ in that each of us has a personal stake in every job, every customer, and every long-lasting installation.
In today’s coupon-crazy, commodity-driven culture, it’s hard to know if businesses that care about their craft, their customers, and their people will survive. But it’s nice to know that when it comes to our company– quantity and quality are evenly matched with character.