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Unread 07-22-2015, 04:17 PM   #1
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Hi All. Been in the office the last few days and have been posting like crazy. Thought I should introduce myself.
I've been in the trade since 1999, started out as a helper for an old-school-union-mud -guy. Learned a lot about our trade in the few years I worked for him. Also learned a lot about what not to do as far as the business end. Did not want to do tile for a living...but college sucked for me. Long story short, family member needed a tub back tiled and I said I would do it. Her best friend worked at a tile shop. The rest is history.
I fell in love with tile once I was on my own and could control the outcome of the jobs. I enjoyed the responsibility of the finished product...and of course I had to tear some things out and wouldn't be surprised if I got a call back from an old customer for something I did wrong way back when. Nice thing is...I would have the resources to fix it, if need be! That's a good feeling.
I rode the highs and the lows of the last decade. At one point in '05 I had four crews. At one in point in 2010, I had me. Probably similar to a lot of pro's out there that weathered the storm.
I always had a dream of a one stop tile shop...where customers could come in a buy tile if they wanted, and get install services too. Kind of like how other flooring shops do. I never saw other tile shops do it and I wondered why. Now I know why
Dec. of 2012, I took out a lease on a 1500 sf retail space and a 1600 sf warehouse space down the road. Vacancy was like 50% in the center at that time...so I negotiated a pretty good 3 year deal. Used credit cards to finance everything. Banks were super tight still. Emser hooked me up with all kinds of display tile. Other vendors chipped in when they saw what had going on. Worked day and night for three months to get the showroom done. Cabinets, and stone work were thrown in by friends. The Plumbing supply store next to me donated as well.
We just negotiated a 5 year lease extension, which includes taking over 1300 sf behind me that I can use as warehouse will call space and get a forklift over here. I plan to use my current off site warehouse as storage and to run the install side out of there.
I have always liked custom residential so that's our niche. This week, I'm running three crews but typically I like two because I can pay more attention to the jobs, and still deal with the retail and design side in the showroom. My wife works about 20 hours a week in here and usually books enough work to keep us busy. Marisa is really good with customers, and I think the general public trusts women more than men. Or at least if they've met her, they tend to have more trust in me. We sell about two or three retail only jobs a week, along with silestone and caesarstone quartz countertops that I sub out. Those sales pretty much pay for Marisa's time, and keep the lights on.
I was worried about not getting business from other tile contractors on the retail side. But for a shop my size the profits from the install side outweigh what I would make selling tile and thinset to tile contractors. The margin selling to contractors is low anyways. I would much rather sell to homeowners, DIY's, or general contractors because then my knowledge comes into play and I can help guide them through their project. I've done well selling Schluter, as we are an authorized dealer. I stock the most common parts of the shower systems, Ditra, and about 15 different profiles.
As we expand into the back area, I plan on becoming a stocking dealer and hopefully break away from the install side at some point and become a "real" tile shop.
Until then, I love talking tile so I will try to post on here as much as I can about what I do and don't know about our industry. I try to stay humble (easier said than done) and learn as much as I can from other people. That has been a recipe for success so far for me. Hopefully, it continues.
If you would like to see some of my you tube videos, check out https://www.youtube.com/user/916tile?feature=mhee
or facebook at www.facebook.com/916tile
or website www.916tile.com
Isaac Ostrom
Northern California
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Unread 07-22-2015, 06:35 PM   #2
Higher Standard Tile
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Welcome! Good to have another Isaac around here👍

Higher Standard Tile & Stone
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Maui Professional Tile & Stone Installation
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Unread 07-22-2015, 11:38 PM   #3
builder, anti-builder, rebuilder -- Retired Moderator
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Hi Isaac, welcome aboard.

"the road to hell is paved with osb, mastic, pre-mixed latex 'grout' or 'thinset', "
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Unread 07-23-2015, 12:45 AM   #4
Tiger Mountain Tile Inc
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Unread 07-23-2015, 07:26 AM   #5
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Welcome aboard, Isaac.

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Unread 07-23-2015, 07:28 AM   #6
Richard Tunison
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Howdy Isaac!
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Unread 07-23-2015, 07:42 AM   #7
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Hi Isaac, welcome.
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Unread 07-23-2015, 12:51 PM   #8
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Thanks Guys.
Isaac Ostrom
Northern California
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Unread 07-23-2015, 01:29 PM   #9
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You have some nice stuff going on on your links. Welcome aboard the Friendliest Site on the Web!

(Oh, and your price on the DeWalt rocks!)
"They didn't want it good, they wanted it Wednesday."
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Unread 07-23-2015, 05:53 PM   #10
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Welcome ..
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Unread 07-23-2015, 06:19 PM   #11
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Welcome to the Forum Isaac!
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Unread 07-26-2015, 06:40 AM   #12
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Hi, Isaac. Glad to have ya.
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