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Published: Thursday, 9/20/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Tile chain to open local store

December target projected for site in Springfield Twp.

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

A suburban Minneapolis retail chain specializing in tile and flooring has leased a former furniture store in Springfield Township and plans to open a new superstore before year’s end.

The Tile Shop Inc., of Plymouth, Minn., signed a lease last week to occupy the 33,000-square-foot former quarters of Globe Furnitureat 1244 Corporate Dr., which is near the junction of I-475 and Airport Highway.

Company officials said they will take possession of the site on Oct. 15 and hope to open as early as Dec. 15 and no later than Jan. 1. The store will have between eight and 12 employees, said Carl Randazzo, vice president of retail operations for the Tile Shop.

The Toledo store will be one of 13 new stores the company is opening this year. The company opened five new stores last year and plans to open 15 in 2013.

The company operates 61 stores in 20 states, including five stores each in Ohio and Michigan, and has its largest distribution warehouse in Ottawa Lake, Mich.

Mr. Randazzo said the Ann Arbor store gets a lot of business from Toledo-area customers, a development that prompted the company to open a store in northwest Ohio.

Craig Herschel, a commercial real estate agent with the Toledo office of Signature Associates Inc., said the Tile Shop had been searching for a suitable location in the Toledo area all summer before finally settling on the Globe Furniture building, which has been vacant since mid-2010.

“We’re really happy to take it,” said Mr. Randazzo, who said he also considered a vacant Circuit City store on Airport Highway before settling on the Corporate Drive site.

“We get people from Toledo up at our Ann Arbor store all the time. We figured, ‘Let’s try Toledo. We figure we’ll do well there.’ For some reason, we overlooked Toledo for a while but now we’re really excited to be there.”

Mr. Randazzo said the company was excited to find the Globe Furniture site because it is highly visible from I-475 and suits the company’s concept perfectly.

The Tile Shop, which deals in floor tile, wall tile, fixtures, stone, ceramics, and glass, provides contracting installation services but primarily caters to do-it-yourselfers. To display its product offerings, each store features multiple roomlike settings.

The Toledo store, which will be slightly larger than most Tile Shop stores, will have 60 roomlike settings, Mr. Randazzo said. The retailer also is know for its classes each Saturday where it teaches do-it-yourselfers how to work with tile and flooring.

“We’re very differentiated from a Lowe’s or Home Depot, and we provide a very high level of customer service,” Mr. Randazzo said.

The Tile Shop, which averaged 8 percent annual growth in sales between 2007 and 2011, had net sales of $153 million in 2011. In mid-August, the formerly private company merged with JWC Acquisition Corp. of Delaware to become a public company with stock traded on the Nasdaq exchange. Company officials said the merger is providing the retailer with the added capital necessary to pursue a long-term growth strategy.

The retailer’s stock closed Thursday at $14.53 a share, up 8 cents.

Contact Jon Chavez at: jchavez@theblade.com or 419-724-6128.



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