By LAURI GROSS
As Northeast Ohio continues to reinvent and reinvigorate itself, residents and visitors are discovering what’s new, different and better. Add this to the list: A new Virginia Tile showroom which has no comparisons in the area. When the company closed its Warrensville Heights store last month and reopened nearby on the same property (at 4670 Richmond Road), those who stopped by were amazed. At 9,000 square feet, it’s the largest of Virginia Tile’s 16 locations that span eight states, but size is just the beginning.
“We developed some great ideas for new ways of merchandising,” said Debra Osborne, showroom operations and marketing for Virginia Tile. “An enormous amount of tile is bigger now. People used to come in for 8”x8” tile. Now it’s 18”x36” or even 24”x24”. So, to express the product, you need more space and a better layout. The merchandising in our old space was cut up. The new space has cleaner lines and we put all the collections together. All the glass is together. All the ceramic is together. This makes the experience much better.”
Having earned a reputation as a premier provider of tile and stone, Virginia Tile is a leading distributor of products from the finest manufacturers and suppliers and sets the standard for style, design and service. They sell only to architects, designers, contractors and retailers but the Virginia Tile team regularly and happily also serves homeowners. “Everyone is welcome,” said Debra. “We will give (homeowners) details to pass on to their tradespeople and talk to their installer about,” she added.
“Our designer staff is really good,” said Debra. “Everyone has interior design degrees and they are passionate about design. It’s about providing a great experience for the customer,” she said, indicating that this level of service is the same for homeowners and tradespeople.
In the old space, customers were often overwhelmed, Debra explained. In the new space, that is not a problem. If a customer is looking for glass tile, it’s all in one place and the same is true for each kind of tile. “It’s well lit. We have great examples. We have panels showing the different colors of grout,” Debra added. “It helps people know what they like and what they don’t. It demystifies things.”
Virginia Tile always carries the latest styles. “We really cater to what’s happening,” Debra said. “Now we see people interested in (tile) shapes so we really try to gear our showroom to make it easy (to find what you want).” Debra gave the example of someone coming in for subway tile but then discovering tiles with patterns. “Patterns are super popular,” she said, “Especially in laundry rooms or for a shower floor. We still see a lot of white and black and gray but also a lot of colors now. Wood-look porcelain tile is really popular and we have a lot of that. It’s perfect for people with dogs or in heavy traffic areas. It’s low maintenance.”
Virginia Tile offers product in a range of price points. Much of it is in stock but some will need to be special ordered.
The official Grand Opening of the new showroom will be in Sept. and will be geared toward tradespeople. But, tradespeople or consumers, Debra promises all will be dazzled.