Blending Two Businesses
Although the owners of two businesses have known each other for years, it’s only recently that Island House & Home has moved onto the same premises as Pacific Tile Imports in the New Lihu’e Industrial area. It’s a recognition that the two businesses are totally complementary, say the owners.
Margaret Sheen is the owner and president of Pacific Tile Imports. Tarek and Yumiko Louca, a husband-and-wife team, own Island House & Home. The name Pacific Tile says it all; the latter business stocks area rugs, bedding and accent pillows.
“We have products that are used together,” says Sheen, explaining that Pacific Tile provides primarily porcelain tile and natural stone, glass tile, cladding, pebbles and mosaics. “We offer the client creative ideas for their home and let them choose the type of products they’re looking for, give help with ideas and solutions, and we offer good customer service.”
Louca says that the nature of his business involves the sale of area rugs, bedding and accent pillows, both wholesale and retail.
“We design everything we have specifically for our market here, and the fabrics and materials we bring in are specifically for a Pacific climate,” he says.
Sheen notes that climate plays an important role in products she offers or recommends. For example, porcelain tile, which she describes as durable and resembling natural stone but easier to maintain, is a great product that she has in her own home.
“If you have lots of traffic, pets or sand and soil tracked in, the porcelain tile will be easy to maintain – so you have beauty and ease of maintenance in one flooring product.”
And bottom line, ceramic tile works well in the tropics, as does natural stone, another great flooring tile.
Sheen works to become familiar with an individual’s home project, doing due diligence on a checklist designed to ease a customer’s mind.
For example, she’ll ask where the tile will be installed, get a general idea of colors and sizes and the feeling a customer is trying to create in a room, what type of maintenance will be required and more. She’ll show sample selections based on the conversation and continue to delve deeper into the project “so we can become more creative with our ideas together.”
Although Pacific Tile does not handle installations, Sheen has a list of qualified and licensed contractors for clients to request proposals from and then choose from. Customers may pick up their materials or have a contractor do so, or freight forward materials to their homes, including shipping anywhere.
“Clients may want additional tile or seek our knowledge about a product or maintenance,” says Sheen. “We’re there to make sure all questions get answered.”
Although Island House & Home products will fit in a client’s car, the company ships anywhere in the world, according to Louca, who adds, “We just made a shipment to France a few days ago and also to California.”
Seeing a need and stepping in is how both business owners describe how they got started. Sheen began in 1986 with a partner no longer in the business.
She’s expanded the business and says it’s been a lot of fun. At the moment, she and P.J. Ferrara, a tile and stone consultant, are the two still on board.
Though trained as a medical technician, Sheen says she enjoys people and was ready to have a creative outlet, which Pacific Tile provides.
For Louca, the jump into this Kaua’i-based business has roots in Egypt, his birth land, which he left behind years ago to make it on his own. Feeling successful, he relinked with the family business, headquartered in London with rug manufacturing and shipping from Egypt.
Louca and his wife also have a wholesale branch of their business and supply wall-to-wall carpet for hotels and condos – and that comes strictly out of Egypt, he says. He calls the Egyptian factory the largest rug factory in the world, adding the the company also has locations in Dalton, Ga., and China.
“I believe 100 percent that in everything I do, that everyone involved in doing business has to walk away happy,” Says Louca. “It’s a good deal only when everybody is happy in the end.”
Says Sheen, “Our reputation lies in our actions of consistency, quality, knowledge, honesty and availability. We aspire to be the most creative and dependable tile and stone showroom in the Pacific.
“I think success is measured in relationships. My business brings me a lot of rewarding relationships with customers and business associates, and this brings me a lot of inner satisfaction.”
Louca nods in agreement, adding, “Relationships sums it all up. I measure success by relationships on a personal level and on a business level. It’s not about how much money you have.”
Both have plans for the future. Sheen says her plan is to expand upon her creative endeavors. Asked what that might include, she replies, “Let your imagination go!”
For Louca, future plans include saturating the Pacific market with his brand.
“I want to be on your floor and on your couch,” he says, laughing.
Both businesses are located at 2995 Aukele St. Contact Pacific Tile at 245-1765. Contact Island House & Home at 245-3030 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.