Halifax has grown considerably over the last few decades. Twenty years ago, the selection of available home products was limited. “Not anymore,” says Rosita Bartolacci. “HRM’s home design possibilities have evolved dramatically.”
Rosita’s family was key to that transformation. In 1988, her parents — Maria and Eric Bartolacci — founded Select Ceramic Tile Centre Inc. From the beginning, Rosita says, Select Ceramic Tile enticed customers by stocking international products. “Hand-painted tiles, marble mosaics and large format stone, to name a few,” she lists.
The Bartolaccis’ international vision helped Select Ceramic Tile thrive; this year marks its 30th anniversary. Its success, in turn, led the Bartolaccis to expand. By 1994, Rosita recounts, Select Ceramic Tile outgrew their leased location and purchased a 35,000 sq. ft. building.
There, it was joined by three “sister” businesses, Bella Marble & Granite Inc., Milano Kitchens and Select Lighting, in 2002, 2015 and 2016 respectively. Each new venture complemented Select Ceramic Tile. “Our vision was to create a one-stop shop for the home,” says Rosita. “Flooring, cabinets, lighting, countertops… everything can be done under one roof, and we have staff experts in all those departments. It saves clients a lot of time!”
Milano Kitchens, Rosita says, provides fully customizable cabinetry for residential kitchens and bathrooms, “while Select Lighting offers a large, affordable selection of new lighting trends.” Finally, at Bella Marble, “clients can choose from hundreds of marble, granite and quartz slabs for countertops that are custom fabricated in-house.” The team is meticulous about customers’ wishes, she notes. “Clients can even view slabs onsite while making their selections.”
Decades after its inception, Select Ceramic Tile’s international products remain one of its major strengths. “Going strong for 30 years in any industry requires you to stay current,” says Rosita. Team members visit multiple international trade shows yearly, sourcing products from Italy, Portugal, Spain, the Czech Republic and Brazil, to name a few. “It’s a matter of keeping on- trend, while ensuring quality.”
Lately, Rosita says, clients tend to prefer “organic, natural” aesthetics. “We sell a lot of tile that looks like wood. It’s perfect for people who have pets, or also want in-floor heating.”
Select Ceramic Tile’s modern clientele has become “much more discerning,” she observes. “The consumer now is not the same as 20 years ago. People are mixing styles… using colour… going bolder. The showroom offers clients everything from floor to ceiling — Moroccan tiles, copper light fixtures and even faucets that light up!” Most products (approximately 95 per cent, Rosita estimates) are stocked onsite, at the company’s warehouse.
Select Ceramic Tile and its sister companies continue to take a close- knit approach that extends beyond the Bartolacci’s literal family tree. “We have a ‘family unit’ atmosphere,” says Rosita, pointing out that multiple team members have been with the company since the 90s. That approach also “carries over to our customers. We have lots of repeat business.”
Select Ceramic Tile has been among HRM’s favourite sources for stunning floors since 1988. Bella Marble & Granite Inc., Milano Kitchens and Select Lighting seem destined to achieve their own legacies. “We remain focused on innovation and inspiration as we continue building strong relationships with our customers,” says Rosita. “While we look back on the past 30 years with pride, we also look forward to the future with great excitement.”
Select Ceramic Tile Inc.
Bella Marble & Granite Inc.
Milano Kitchens Inc.
2 Fielding Ave, Dartmouth, N.S.