- 2012 - September - 18th -

The Tile Shop expands to Florida with first store in Jacksonville

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Plans were filed for The Tile Shop, a national retailer of manufactured and natural stone tiles, to set up shop in Southside at 9357 Philips Highway.

The company, based in Plymouth, Minn., near Minneapolis, operated at least 61 stores in 20 states as of May 31, but none in Florida. The Jacksonville location is shown as store No. 67.

The Tile Shop says on its website, tileshop.com, that it plans to have 100 stores throughout the United States, but did not specify a timetable.

A spokesman for the company said he would provide more details, but did not respond by press time.

Plans show The Tile Shop will occupy about 24,000 square feet of sales and warehouse space at the Avenues North Center at Philips Highway and Shad Road.

Premiere Structures Inc. of Knoxville, Tenn., is listed as the contractor for the $370,000 project.

Plans show the contractor will remodel existing retail tenant space for The Tile Shop, described on plans as a retail store that sells all types of tile, such as ceramic, porcelain, stone, glass and other products.

Its website said it also sells setting and maintenance materials and related accessories and that its average store is 23,000 square feet in size.

The Tile Shop announced Aug. 21 that Tile Shop Holdings Inc. and JWC Acquisition Corp. completed a business combination and began trading its common stock on Nasdaq on Aug. 22 under the ticker symbol TTS.

The website says the company began in 1985 with its first store in Rochester, Minn., for the do-it-yourself market. It described itself as “the independent, boutique alternative to big box retailers.”

The company expanded in 1992 outside of Minnesota as the do-it-yourself market grew. It expanded throughout the Midwest to the East Coast and acquired a distribution center in Michigan that consists of seven buildings on 36 acres where the company makes and stores its proprietary line of adhesives, chemicals and other tiling materials.

“Today, despite recent downturns in the economy, The Tile Shop continues to succeed where others have failed,” the website says.

Brown’s wish list

Downtown: Winn-Dixie, Whole Foods, Macy’s, jobs

Asked by architect Tri Vu about plans for Downtown, Mayor Alvin Brown told Meninak Club of Jacksonville members Monday that he expected the new Downtown Investment Authority to be up and running by October and then a president and CEO will be hired.

Vu referred to the collection of the plans and studies that already have been drawn up for Downtown and asked how Brown will ensure the authority will “get it done.”

Brown joked that as a certified meat cutter for Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., he knows how to “get ’r done” and he also gave a hand to City Council for its part in creating the authority.

Regarding Downtown, Brown talked about housing for college students, a new Winn-Dixie or “we may get a Whole Foods,” a movie theater and Macy’s. “I’d love to get a Macy’s Downtown,” he said.

Florida Coastal School of Law is reviewing housing options for its students, including Downtown.

Brown also talked about EverBank’s job move Downtown and said he was trying to recruit more, referencing but not naming a “$1.4 billion” company.

That company appears to be Jacksonville-based Advanced Disposal, which is based in the Baymeadows area of Southside. It has been widely reported that Advanced Disposal is combining with two other companies to create a $1.4 billion company and looking for a headquarters site.

For its combined headquarters operation, Advanced Disposal said it is negotiating for incentives with Jacksonville, Charlotte, N.C., Atlanta and Milwaukee. Its local search includes sites from Southside to Downtown.

Brown said after the meeting that if Advanced Disposal chooses Jacksonville for the headquarters, “I want them to come Downtown.”

“Those other cities, they’re used to going after companies,” he said. “We are being proactive.”

Brown described the new Downtown Investment Authority as one that will be “lean and mean” and will be “focused like a laser on Downtown.”

More workers means more diners

It seems obvious, but now it’s documented. The more people who work in a household, the more they eat out and the more they spend doing so.

According to Restaurantnews.com, households with two full-time wage earners visit restaurants an average of 5.8 times a week and spend $74.

Households with one full-time worker visit restaurants 5 times a week and spend $41.

Households with no wage-earners visit restaurants 4.5 times a week and spend $36.

Restaurantnews.com cited a survey of U.S. restaurant customers by Restaurant DemandTracker.

The fine-dining segment was most impacted by the lower level of restaurant patronage among the households with one wage-earner, although all food segments were affected, said the report.

“We have been able to confirm that the decline in labor force participation and dual-income households is in fact a major negative factor for restaurant visitation and especially spending,” said David Decker, president of Consumer Edge Insight, in the report.

He said the fine-dining segment was the most affected, “but all segments see substantially lower traffic among single-income households and households with no wage earners.”

He said the level of labor-force participation could “continue to be a major headwind for the entire restaurant industry.”




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