R&R: Where are you based and how long has the company been in business?
Clare Thomas: Proudly, Canton, Ohio, since 1866. Under the same family ownership, offering five generations of quality products.
R&R: What is your title and how long have you been with the company?
Thomas: National sales manager. I started with Metropolitan Ceramics in August of 2005. My background in ceramic tile dates back to 1995, working in distribution, contracting and now for the manufacturer.
R&R: What trades/services do you offer retailers and restaurants?
Thomas: We are a manufacturer of unglazed quarry tile, thin brick and tile pavers. All products are sold through distribution to retailers and contractors.
R&R: In what regions of the country do you conduct most of your business, or are you nationwide?
Thomas: Actually, we service all of North America. We have a nationwide network of independent distributors as well as distribution in Canada, Mexico and the UK.
R&R: What makes your company’s “signature service” stand out in the industry?
Thomas: I can’t pinpoint it to one aspect. I take pride in the fact that we’ve been manufacturing quality products for a very long time, but to have it backed up with unbelievable customer service makes my job a lot easier. Then, the fact that we offer new products — yes, new products in the world of quarry tile! — shows how diverse we are. Different textures, sizes and colors offer the end-user many different options in choosing product.
R&R: Name some highlights and successes from 2018 you’re proud of, and your plans to continue or grow that success in 2019.
Thomas: 2018’s highlights and successes that I’m proud of would include our minimal number of product issues. In fact, one hand is all that it would take. Our quality is sealed in every carton that ships out. Our challenge for 2019 is not only to continue with this long tradition of quality, but to help in the growth of our company. We’ve been very active marketing our products. With all of our products sold through our distribution network, we do all we can to bring business to them. National accounts, magazine ads, online ads and performing AIA CEU presentations to the A&D community will help generate sales.
R&R: What kind of feedback do you receive from clients?
Thomas: No surprises! Our distributors get what they expect from us: quality products delivered when expected.
R&R: Why should owner/operators choose your company to be their next vendor partner?
Thomas: Quality, service and no surprises. What more could you ask for?
R&R: How many retail/restaurant clients do you have, and is that sector growing for you?
Thomas: We always look at the “retail/restaurant” sector as growing. National accounts and local chains are constantly pushing the market for something new and different. It’s impossible to put a figure to the number of clients we have due to the revolving door nature of retail.
R&R: What trends are you seeing in the industry, and how do you predict 2019 to shape up?
Thomas: Recent market trends in the tile industry that we could relate to would be color. Grays and neutrals dominate. We can play in that game, we always have. Other trends/issues that have impacted the ceramic tile industry include alternative products, imports and labor. Next year will offer similar challenges as years past, but as we continue to keep quarry tile relevant, we look forward to a prosperous 2019.
— This article originally appeared in the December 2018/January 2019 “Signature Vendor Spotlight” issue of Retail & Restaurant Facility Business magazine. For more information on upcoming “Signature Vendor Spotlight” opportunities, please email Associate Publisher Scott Royal at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 404-832-8262.