March 1 marked the start of a year-long 60th anniversary celebration for Florida Tile which has risen from a one-product specialty ceramic tile maker to become one of America’s top innovative brands.
“What began as an opportunity recognized by company founders to produce a specialty tile trim shape out of a small building in Lakeland, Fla. has grown and changed over six decades, but the basics of innovation and service remain the foundation of our company’s success,” says Sean Cilona, Florida Tile’s marketing director.
“In those early days, the tile landscape was vastly different from what it is today,” he says. “Then, small format wall tiles, extruded floor and two-tone tiles were popular. But just as the founders saw opportunity in that one trim tile, so, too, did they see opportunity in addressing the changing tastes of Americans. That would lead to a corporate culture of innovative technology and styles that continues to define Florida Tile today.”
Among the early innovations Cilona pointed to Florida Tile pioneering the Monoporosa process for single-pass firing of large, glazed wall tile, becoming one of the first to use the rotocolor process (still in use today) for decorating tile and for establishing the first pressed floor tile manufacturing plant in the USA.
“Over the decades Florida Tile’s products and partners changed, but two things remained constant: innovation and customer service,” Cilona said.
“Our perfect partner appeared in 2006 when a leading Italian tile manufacturer, Panariagroup, purchased Florida Tile. Within a year, and with a $25 million investment from Panariagroup, a completely modern Florida Tile porcelain tile manufacturing plant was opened in Lawrenceburg, Ky. That plant now operates three fulltime shifts 24 hours a day,” said Cilona, “capable of producing very large-sized, through-body porcelain tile. Additionally, we moved our company headquarters to new quarters in nearby Lexington, Kentucky.”
Florida Tile continues with its history of notable and recent industry firsts having been the first tile company to introduce HD - High Definition Porcelain, the first company to attain Greenguard certification for all of its products and one of the first to carry the “Certified Porcelain” mark on all its porcelain products.
“Few companies survive to celebrate 60 years. Florida Tile has not only survived, it has thrived by remaining loyal to its core values of innovation and service,” Cilona added.
“We will continue to build our US brand on innovation in technology and design, and, of course in service all along the retail chain. We have a lot to talk about in this, our anniversary year,” he concluded.
Florida Tile has introduced a special 60th Anniversary logo and developed a year-long advertising and merchandising campaign.