ADDRESS: 907 NW Sycamore Ave, Corvallis, OR 97330
PHONE NUMBER: 541-745-5305
OWNER: Bert Schoenfeld
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 20
WHAT THEY SELL: Natural stone, porcelain, ceramic and glass tiles
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: They offer high quality products and friendly expertise in anything that involves tile. Homeowners, DIYers, designers, and contractors are all welcomed!
Housed in a bright blue building, Mid-Valley Tile and Design offers a treasure trove of tile-shaped gems in all shapes, sizes, colors, and materials. Whether you enter with a mental picture of exactly what you want or you come to peruse the possibilities, owner Bert Schoenfeld and his staff will be more than glad to help you make the exact selections you need. Finding the right materials for a project can be an intimidating task, especially with the extensive collection offered by Mid-Valley, but coupled with the open and inviting atmosphere of the store and the expertise of Bert and the store’s interior designers, breathing life into a design is sure to become less daunting.
Bert, when and why did you decide to start your business? I started setting tile fifteen years ago and wanted to eventually get off my knees. Becoming a business owner offered a good transition and when the opportunity came up to become the owner of this store, I took it. The business itself was open before I came to the helm. I had known the original owners, who passed it down to me. Throughout the years setting tile, I had gained a lot of experience and ideas about both the logistical and artistic aspects of tile setting and looked forward to applying them through the business.
Tell us more about your products and services. We offer a variety of tiles of different materials, including but not limited to porcelain, glass, and natural stone. Whatever home project you have that involves tile, we will help you bring to it life, step-by-step, from rendering a visualization of it to picking the right materials for what you have envisioned. We love helping customers put together projects of all kinds and have a great knack for details. I have to say that our staff is quite knowledgeable and excellent on all counts. We are very customer oriented and will provide you full freedom of choice. And you will never be disappointed with the quality of our products, as we inspect tile orders to make sure the quality of what we offer to you is up to par. Our expertise also extends to tile upkeep and grout cleaning.
What challenges have you faced as an independent local business owner and how have you met those challenges? The state of the economy has definitely presented some hurdles. The cost of buying and maintaining a business over the recession has not been easy, but with our good reputation, sales have been increasing every year. There is currently a good remodeling market within Corvallis, and I enjoy being able to bring personality to various homes. For the most part, I would attribute meeting challenges to the hard work of all the employees as well as quality control of our products. I personally find myself having to dedicate seven days a week to keep the business running.
What do you enjoy most about owning a local, independent business in Corvallis? What excites or inspires you? I especially enjoy seeing how happy people are with their finished projects. It’s very rewarding to be able to be involved and help with such a crucial part of peoples’ lives – their homes. I also enjoy the artistic and creative aspect of tile. Considering the amount and type of available materials, the sky’s the limit with project designs. Also, as far as the range of products is considered, I am continually challenged by new products as they demand that I learn how to incorporate them into designs. It’s a challenge I enjoy.
How many people do you employ? Have you added jobs since starting/buying the business? Counting myself, there are currently seven store employees. Three of the employees work as installers and another three work in the shop. Two of my staff include Anna and Luke, who are graduates from the interior design program at OSU. I also occasionally bring in interns from the design program at OSU and have added a few part time jobs recently.
How important is sustainability to your business? We understand that sustainability is vital for a healthy future. The long lifespan of tile automatically makes it more sustainable than most flooring products. Porcelain and ceramics in particular are incredibly durable and are often manufactured using resource reclamation and recycled content. Tile itself is low-VOC, and we also carry low-VOC setting materials. In addition, we collect rainwater on-site to use for polishing and beveling tiles.
(Interview and article by Sarah Joh – March 10, 2013)
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).