The Tile Warehouse 30th anniversary.
Thirty years ago today, I started The Tile Warehouse. Since then, a lot has changed. Back when I opened our first showroom , I was a lot younger and the tiles seemed a lot smaller and lighter. Over time, they appear to have become bigger and heavier (or maybe it’s just me that became heavier!) Throughout the years, I have worked hard to build us into the successful business we are today and I wanted to share with you a little history of The Tile Warehouse and where it all began.
We started trading in shared premises on the 1st of May 1988 in Barking and in 1989 we moved to our very own showroom in Basildon which was open until 2010. At the turn of the millennium, I had an early mid-life crisis and decided to open another showroom. After about year of looking round for the right premises, I found the showroom in Maldon which we are still trading from today. We also had a small showroom in Grays for about a year which, as happens with some new ventures, didn’t work out the way we hoped. You can’t blame me for being ambitious!
One reason that I was able to grow my business is our home selection service which, if you have used it, you know comes with a small charge. A cup of tea or coffee and a choccy biscuit – hence the reason it’s not only the company that has grown over the years! This service allowed us, as a company, to offer a more personal service. By bringing ideas to our customers, it helped them to see what the tiles would look like in their own environment and allowed us to do the hard work like measuring up the space. This hassle-free approach proved popular with our customers and led to me being able to expand the business. This is a service we still offer today.
The tile industry has changed a lot over the last thirty years. When we first opened, we didn’t have tile trim and the biggest tile you could get was 200 x 150. Wall grout was always white and floor grout was always grey. Now you can get bigger tiles (up to 1500 x 1500) and grout comes in a variety of different colours. One company I know offers thirty-five different colours, which is a lot for me to remember in my old age! On the plus side, the quality of tiles has improved.
The way in which we market our company has also changed. People used to find us in their local newspaper or in The Yellow Pages phone book, which was big and I always wondered if he ever did find that book on fly fishing by J P Hartley? Now, it is all on smart phones, tablets, social media, websites and email. At tile warehouse, although we have branched out into the modern era, we still like the old fashion way of talking to people on the phone and seeing people in our showroom. Alex, our showroom manager, has worked with me since we opened the Maldon showroom seventeen years old ago and, between us, we have over sixty years experience in the tile trade. That does not mean we are old just… premium.
Over the last thirty years, it has not been all plain sailing. We have gone through four recessions. The first one was in our second year at Basildon but the last (2009 – 2010) was the hardest of all. With hard work and determination, we did survive it and we are still here today! One thing which has helped us to trade for so long is the range of tiles we offer. We have always worked hard to show and stock a big variety of tiles so that we can offer ideas for everyone’s individual taste, houses and rooms. Most customers who have been into our showroom and have looked around say we have got the best range of tiles in the area.
Now you know a bit more about our history and what has built us into the successful business we are today, all that is left to say is a big thank you to all our customers , suppliers and tilers who have supported us over the last 30 years and I hope for many years to come.