TEMPE, AZ — In 1977, after 10 years of playing football at the collegiate and professional levels, Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte decided to focus his leadership and team-building skills on a new business endeavor. He took a leap and signed a lease on the back of a cardboard box and opened the first Arizona Tile location in San Diego, CA.

Forty years later, the company has hundreds of employees, nearly half of which have been with the company for over a decade, and many who have been with the company since the beginning.

“Our success solely comes from the vision that John and his wife Eileen Huarte had for this company when starting it - the sensibility that our relationships with our customers and our fellow employees are the most important aspect of what we do,” said company president, Bob Traxler.

Arizona Tile strives to provide a uniquely positive experience for each customer. The company prides itself on providing customers with ideas and information they may need in order to move forward with projects.

“We’ve stayed focused on taking care of our customer needs as best as we can, and they’re satisfied and become a referral service,” said founder John Huarte. Beyond assisting with products, the company strives to meet the necessities of their customers by listening to what their product and location needs may be. This has helped Arizona Tile identify which markets would benefit from a nearby showroom, as well as pinpoint which types of products customers are most in need of.

Originally Arizona Tile began as a ceramic tile supplier. As their customer needs changed, the company evolved to accommodate those needs. In 1993, Arizona Tile introduced slab materials to their inventory. At that time the company had 12 slab colors available. In 2017, the company is now one of the largest slab distributors in the U.S. — offering over 235 slab products. In addition to slabs, they also distribute several natural stone, porcelain, glass and mosaic tile products that can’t be found elsewear.

“We have always seen ourselves as a company serving our customers in the western U.S., but we continue to grow our footprint geographically,” said Traxler. “As our customers have continued to grow and have started moving eastward, I think there’s more call for us to grow and to cast our eyes a little further east, and as time goes on, I think we will. The single thing that drives our growth more than anything else is our wish to create opportunity and value for both our employees and also our customers.”

This growth is evident as the company excitedly awaits the opening of their newest branch in Austin, TX, this year. Huarte’s son, and company vice president of operations, Mark Huarte, adds, “We’re excited to announce the building of our Austin, TX, location and our intent is to continue that path with another store.”

LOXCREEN FLOORING GROUP’S PROFESSIONAL DIVISION UNDERGOES RE-BRAND

MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO, CANADA — In December 2012, when M-D Building Products, based in Oklahoma City, OK, completed the acquisition of the Loxcreen Company, based in Columbia, SC, it returned full circle into the professional floor covering accessory business with the Loxcreen Flooring Group division that operates out of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. The Loxcreen acquisition meant that M-D was now the proud owner of some of the most respected brands in the industry. Brands like Bengard, Dura-Trim, KinTrim and Loxcreen Floor Covering Accessories were now part of the M-D family of businesses.

With so many well-known brands under the M-D umbrella, the time was right to consolidate and simplify their professional market presence under the newly created M-D PRO name. The professional division launched its new name to its customers this week, along with a brand new logo that will replace Loxcreen Flooring Group on all future product labels, marketing materials and social media, as well as a new website that is currently in development, www.mdpro.com.

“This new logo was designed to honor the history of the M-D brand, but also to clearly distinguish it from the traditional retail channels that M-D is best known for,” said Joe Comitale, president of M-D PRO. “The M-D PRO business has a separate and autonomous management team that works closely with the senior management of M-D to make sure that corporate ideals are maintained while at the same time taking advantage of the expertise and specialization that the professional side of the business demands.”

The re-brand has been an evolutionary one, as initially, the professional floor covering brands remained stand alone. The first year after the acquisition, the M-D logo started appearing on marketing collateral, as well as in advertisements and customer communications. Soon after, the M-D logo became more prominent and the trade shows proudly announced the M-D affiliation and ownership. In essence, this is just the final step in that evolution.

“It is extremely exciting for the Loxcreen Flooring Group brands to continue the evolution into the M-D family by changing the name to M-D PRO,” said Steven LaGrou, vice president of sales and marketing for M-D PRO. “The Loxcreen Flooring Group, being an integral part of such a large, century-old, well-respected and recognizable organization such as M-D, will certainly help us achieve our objective of brand consolidation, simplification and recognition.”

M-D PRO will be the brand name for all of the professional accessory product lines, including carpet, metal, vinyl and wood and MDF, with one exception. M-D is also the owner of the decade-old Prova brand of ceramic and stone installation accessories. Prova has quickly established itself as a proven, reliable and high-performing product line in the M-D family.

“Prova was the only other brand that we decided to keep and promote due to its established brand equity, its great potential for growth in the marketplace and its overall meaning to the product line,” said Julia Vozza, marketing manager for M-D PRO. “The Prova name was derived from the Italian word proteggere, which means ‘to protect’ and from the word ‘vapor.’”

What started out as a single product in Canada is now an entire system of waterproofing products, tile underlayment, shower systems and other tile and stone accessory products that are sold all over North America. This standalone brand will continue, but will in fact proudly include the M-D logo as well, in recognition of its family ties.

CUSTOM BUILDING PRODUCTS ENHANCES MOBILE ACCESS TO PRODUCT INFORMATION

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA — Custom Building Products, a leading provider of flooring preparation products and tile and stone installation systems, recently unveiled a “made for iPad” version of its interactive mobile app and optimized its website for all mobile devices. The increased availability of product and service information through mobile technology allows Custom to effectively and efficiently accommodate the needs of tile installers, contractors, specifiers, architects, designers, distributors, retailers, homeowners and other customers. 

“The use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices is a growing trend in the tile industry, so optimizing the website and extending the app to tablets was critical,” said Reeve Haldeman, corporate vice president of marketing and retail sales for Custom Building Products. “These mobile environments should make it easy to select the right products for every phase of tile projects from anywhere. In addition, educational videos, project case studies, coverage calculators and other useful tools are easily accessible through these Custom mobile resources.”

Built for use on iPhones, iPads and Android tablets and smartphones, the free Custom mobile app provides a robust menu of interactive options that are helpful for installing, protecting and maintaining tile and stone. The Custom Building Products mobile-optimized website features navigation that directs contractors, distributors, architects, designers and homeowners through a customized user-experience.

Both mobile resources feature:

  • Products: descriptions with features and benefits; technical data sheets and safety data sheets that can be downloaded or e-mailed to the user or shared with an associate.
  • Color Selector: color options for all of Custom’s grouts, including  Fusion Pro™, Prism®, CEG™ Lite, CEG-IG™,  Polyblend® and SimpleGrout®.
  • Material Calculator: helps users determine the correct amount of surface prep material, setting material and grout based on surface area, tile and stone dimensions, and grout joint thickness. This tool allows for more precise calculations based on the unique attributes of the tile installation.
  • Videos: Custom’s video library, including its “Top 5 Tips” series.
  • Where to Buy: geo-targeted locations that sell Custom and Aqua Mix products.
  • Contact Us: one-touch access to customer service and technical support by phone and email.
  • Search: product identification and access based on key search terms.

MAPEI HIGHLIGHTS 80TH ANNIVERSARY WITH CONTRACTOR CONTEST

DEERFIELD BEACH, FL — Mapei Group, a leading manufacturer of mortars, grouts and chemical additives for the construction industry, is celebrating 80 successful years in business in 2017. From its beginnings in Italy to its global presence today, the company has become an icon for the development of technologically advanced systems and transparent manufacturing processes.

Mapei Americas is highlighting this anniversary with a fun-themed contest for the contractors who use Mapei products. Supporting the slogan “Celebrate our past — Enjoy our presents,” Mapei is inviting contractors to make use of their purchases during 2017 to enter the Mapei 80th Anniversary Giveaway. Contractors can go to a landing page on Mapei’s website — www.mapei.com — and process documentation for one entry per each $100 of products purchased. The contest runs from through December 14, 2017. Detailed contest rules are located on the website.

Six winners will be selected in a random drawing that will be held on January 4, 2018. The grand prize is an Arctic Cat Wildcat X recreational off-highway vehicle with side-by-side seating. The first-prize winner will have a choice of an Arctic Cat Alterra 700 ATV or an Arctic Cat ZR 6000 Sno Pro ES snowmobile. The second runner-up will receive a Colnago V1-R road bike. Three third runner-ups will be presented with a DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter drone with camera.

“After 80 years, Mapei is stronger than ever as the world leader of materials for construction and flooring,” said Steven Day, operational marketing manager for Mapei Americas. “The contractors’ support is our greatest reward, and we’re celebrating our high-tech legacy by giving high-tech gifts to them.”

EPA ANNOUNCES INCLUSION OF GREEN SQUARED

WASHINGTON, DC — Green Squared®, the American National Standard Specifications for Sustainable Ceramic Tiles, Glass Tiles and Tile Installation Materials, has been added to the current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Recommendations of Specifications, Standards and Ecolabels for Federal Purchasing, updated at the close of 2016, the Tile Council of North America (TCNA) recently announced. These recommendations were made to all U.S. government purchasing officials to aid in identifying and procuring environmentally sustainable products and services.

“In establishing a sustainability initiative, it was our desire to put in place one standard and one mark across the tile industry to cover the products used over the course of an installation. Green Squared is the result of that — the first holistic tile sustainability standard,” said Bill Griese, director of standards development and sustainability initiatives at TCNA. “We’re incredibly proud to see it now be accepted as part of the U.S. federal government’s benchmark for sustainability, and to garner credibility both from the government, and by association with similar, recognized industry marks for categories like furnishings and paint.”

“The federal government’s ability to sort through the myriad numbers of products with private ecolabels can provide a critical roadmap for how the public sector can do this,” said Jim Jones, assistant administrator, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, U.S. EPA. “By allowing federal buyers to make more informed decisions on environmentally preferable products and services, federal agencies are leading by example, stimulating the supply of greener products and services, and protecting our health and the environment.”

MILES DISTRIBUTORS, INC. ANNOUNCES MANAGEMENT

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Miles Distributors, Inc., a 47-year-old distributor of ceramic tile and natural stone, with locations in Michigan, Wyoming and Indiana, has announced several management changes.

Douglas R. Miles, president of Miles since 1992 and a former president of the CTDA, will be stepping down as president but will remain active as Chairman of the Board. Douglas M. Miles, general manager of Miles since 2010, has been named the new president. John Zolman, sales and marketing manager for Miles since 2000, has been appointed vice president of sales and marketing. Zolman currently serves on the board of directors for the CTDA.

Miles Distributors, Inc. sells, supports and delivers to over 1,800 tile dealers, residential tile contractors and commercial tile contractors throughout Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

CTEF LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

PENDLETON, SC — The Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF) has launched a new website to better communicate the value of ceramic tile education and certified tile installation to homeowners, architects, design specifiers, dealers, distributors and tile installation contractors. Visitors to www.ceramictilefoundation.org, CTEF’s new URL, will discover many features that enhance their user experience and make finding and learning about Certified Tile Installers easier.

More specifically:

  • The site is SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) enabled. This is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and the visitor’s browser remain private and integral.
  • The site features responsive design so visitors can easily navigate the content regardless of the device they use — via desktop, mobile device or tablet.
  • Site search helps visitors easily locate content within the website.
  • A Google Maps-based zip code locator allows visitors to find Certified Tile Installers around the country.
  • The CTEF Blog publishes weekly content describing quality tile installation best practices and success stories. It includes a monthly series where CTEF director of certification and training, Scott Carothers, specifically addresses tile installation questions.
  • A calendar of upcoming training and certification events with online registration and secure payment through PayPal.

“The newly launched CTEF website takes the mission of the organization to a new level,” said Scott Carothers. “It allows us to explain why tile installation certification is so important and reach new audiences. Not just new tile contractors to certify, but also homeowners, architects, designers, dealers and distributors who all benefit from quality tile installation.”

Visitors to the CTEF website will find educational resources about tile installation, answers to FAQs about certification, and downloadable information kits about becoming a Certified Tile Installer and tile installation tip sheets.

For more information about CTEF and how to become a corporate sponsor, visit https://www.ceramictilefoundation.org/become-a-ctef-corporate-sponsor-benefits.

NTCA HIRES SPANISH-SPEAKING TRAINER FOR WORKSHOP PROGRAM

JACKSON, MI — The NTCA has hired Luis Bautista, owner of Master Tilesetter, LLC in Arlington, TX, as its newest workshop trainer/presenter. Bautista, originally from Honduras, is a native Spanish speaker and will present nine NTCA Tile & Stone Workshops in 2017 to Spanish-speaking attendees.

Bautista has owned NTCA-member, Master Tilesetter (www.mastertilesetter.com), for 20 years, specializing in beautiful, luxurious and custom bathrooms and kitchens. “Our mission is to go the extra mile to provide a detailed quality service, customized for client satisfaction,” he said.

Bautista also works in the mission fields in Spanish-speaking countries and will make several trips to Honduras and Guatemala with his wife Susan in 2017.

The NTCA committed to bringing on a Spanish-language presenter to attract attendees who may not be fluent in English to workshop events. This initiative was galvanized when NTCA took part in the Installation Summit in Dallas over the summer, and the lack of installers was explored.

“At this summit, one key area identified to help the growth of flooring installers was the Spanish community,” said Jim Olson, NTCA assistant executive director. “As a response, the NTCA translated the Trowel & Error video and the NTCA Reference Manual into Spanish. In 2017, the NTCA will offer Spanish Workshops for the first time.”

NTCA Tile & Stone Workshops provide free opportunities for attendees to stay informed of the latest techniques, developments and systems for tile and stone installations. They include information on the changes in the TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass and Stone Tile Installation, live demonstrations and an open forum with plenty of time to network at each event.

In addition, Luis will present in Spanish during the Coverings conference at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, from April 4 to 7, 2017. Here is the program at press time:

To reach Luis, call (817) 454-2407 or email eljefebautista@sbcglobal.net. For more information about the workshops, visit http://www.tile-assn.com.

BOSTIK LAUNCHES MOBILE APP

WAUWATOSA, WI — Bostik, Inc., one of the world’s largest manufacturers of adhesives and sealants, is pleased to announce the launch of its mobile application available for both Android and iOS platforms.

The Bostik Construction USA mobile app is a jobsite specification tool developed to assist architects, construction professionals and do-it-yourself individuals with construction adhesive selection and proper installation.

This Free to Download App features the Bostik Grout Calculator, Bostik training videos, and product catalogs that offer quick and easy retrieval of product information. The program also includes direct links to technical support and Safety Data Sheet Requests. The Mobile App supports iOS, Android and Windows devices.

“This Mobile App offers customers a quick and convenient way to access information about Bostik products,” said Scott Banda, Bostik’s director of marketing and business development. “We want our customers to have access to the most up-to-date information at any time, anywhere. It will become a permanent part of any contractor’s specification toolkit.”

The Bostik Construction USA App was created under the direction of marketing communications manager, Chris Eichman. “This is a Smart App for our Smart Adhesives,” he said. “Everything a customer may need is right there with a touch of a finger. You can find your local ceramic or hardwood rep, watch the most recent training video or create quick and accurate grout coverage estimates in just minutes.”

To download the free app, visit www.Bostik.com/us, the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.