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Written in stone

image Ricardo Delarosa, owner of Dela Tile and Stone, in one of his showroom kitchens.

AUSTIN - After eight years in the Coast Guard and then getting a business degree from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Ricardo Delarosa’s uncle encouraged him to get into construction, specifically stone work.





    Dela Tile and Stone was formed in October 2000.
    The company is now located in its third facility. It has gone from a 2,000sf granite building to a 15,000sf one. He has a 3,500sf showroom where people can come and see his products. Delarosa said that 90 percent of the customers who come to his showroom end up buying something.
    The early years were, as is the case for most new business, hard. For the “first three, four years,” Delarosa said, “it was tough You’re making it on bread and baloney.”
    But with the booming Austin-area market, Delarosa is taking care of business now. He’s done work at the University of Texas, Austin, and many other commercial sites.
    Delarosa started out doing mostly tile floor work, but this has morphed into wood and other stone work. By learning as he went, as well as hiring the right people. Dela Tile can handle most any request.
    Dela has 21 people working for it. Delarosa’s two daughters work for him, one as a designer, the other in sales and operations.
    One of the most popular items customers want is quartz counter tops. Quartz comprises about 75 percent of his sales as people like having a solid color.
    But one of the big sellers these days is in the luxury vinyl tile (LVT) market. Delarosa said that laminates have come a long way in their quality from its early days, as has other wood-looking tiles and planks.
    “Technology has done such a heck of a job that some [flooring], you can’t tell until you actually get down and feel the material.”
    Other technological changes from Dela’s earlier days are in the machines used to process the various shapes and forms. New cutting machines can do it all in faster-than-ever time. “Everything is automated,” Delarosa said. Once the specifics are programmed into the cutting machine, it does the rest, like cutting the sink area out, all the fixtures holes, the corner designs, and even polishes the material.
    Technology also aids in the customer being able to see the final product when picking everything out. Computer software is such that the customer can see his kitchen or bathroom or floor with all the options. Nice.
    Most of the stone material he uses comes from overseas: 80 percent from Brazil, while marble comes from Italy and India, some Spain and Israel.
    Most of the hard wood comes from China.
    Before he commits to a job, Delarosa makes sure he can get enough of what the customer wants in terms of color, style in material.
    Right now, there are no plans to expand beyond his reach, as business is going well. And, when that time comes when Delarosa just wants to relax and take in all of Austin’s charms, he said the company can go do his daughters “if they want it.”
    Delarosa’s father was in the Army; hence, he moved around a lot. He grew up in Michigan, went to high school in Florida, and finally settled in Texas. As the owner of Dela Tile and Stone, he has found his niche in providing quality stone, tile and wood products for residential and commercial use.
    He took his uncle’s advice to get into the construction business, then used his MBA to start his own company. Simply put, it’s no more “bread and baloney” for him.
    Dela Tile and Stone is a full service kitchen, bath and floor remodeling company in Austin. -dsz

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Author Info
Dan Zulli dan@constructionnews.net