United Tile, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, says its success is due in part to building and sustaining relationships. “We place particular value on long-term relationships,” adds Ron Cook, executive vp.
“We know what is meant by a global economy. We represent companies located on five continents. Even though our supply sources have become more diversified, we demonstrate a particular loyalty to the key domestic suppliers - Crossville Ceramics and Laticrete International - who we have been affiliated with for over 25 years. This commitment has proven invaluable over the years,” Cook concluded. “We have the same commitment to our core customers.”
In 1960, Bud Morris opened the doors to the company’s flagship store in Portland, OR. Phil Stalcup became his partner when they later expanded into Washington. In 1991, they sold the company to Ken Wiedemann. Today, Wiedemann, Ron Cook and Bob Hart form the senior management team that directs United Tile’s operations. Cook also runs the Washington and Alaska operations. “Ron is known and respected throughout our industry,” Wiedemann said. “No place is that more evident than in our market.”
Hart joined United Tile in 1993. He was named vice-president and CFO shortly thereafter. Wiedemann lauds his contributions. “Given his diverse responsibilities, I have never worked with an individual as competent and dedicated as Bob. I couldn’t have two better partners.”
Environmental commitment ranks high on the company’s priority list. Each of its four locations has been recognized for its green practices. This year, United Tile was named one of Oregon’s 100 Best “Green” Companies to work for by Oregon Business magazine.
Management believes most consumers are looking for value as opposed to price. “While we are seeing more price sensitivity than we did prior to the recession, quality products, properly presented, are still being bought by consumers. It costs as much to install cheap products as it does to install material that can transform their home or business into the image they envision and desire,” said Wiedemann. “If we continue to assume that only low-end products will sell, and that is all we present to the consumer, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Heidi Martin, United’s director of marketing, explained the company’s many social and business networks. “In addition to our website-www.unitedtile.com-we communicate with our customers on our Blog, Twitter site and Facebook page. It has been a fun way to stay connected and share news of both products and projects with our customer base and to give them the opportunity to do the same thing.”