Business View Caribbean | Volume 8, Issue 12

29 BUSINESS VIEW CARIBBEAN VOLUME 8, ISSUE 12 NASSAU T I LE Business View Caribbean spoke with Elizabeth Ramsay, 3rd generation owner of Nassau Tile, about the family business operations, disruptions and innovations during the pandemic, and her vision for the future. It was a fascinating conversation. BVC: Can you share some of the back story on the company? Ramsay: “Nassau Tile was established in 1930 by my grandfather, John Gomez. He came to the Bahamas from Spain, as a carpenter by trade, and he saw a need for tiles. At that time, it would have been handmade cement tiles, so that’s what he started making. He also did terrazzo floors. We continued manufacturing into the 1980s, although things really started to change in the ‘70s in our industry. So then we slowly began importing more from top international manufacturers. My dad, José, took over when my grandfather passed away in 1974, and he really transformed the business into more importing and building those manufacturer relationships. “We do not manufacture at all, anymore. The tile making space is still very much a handmade product that is labor intensive; hence the small number of cement tile manufacturers still in existence in the world. It’s really an artisan product. We’ve spoken to some of them because we actually have some of my grandfather’s original molds that were used to make custom floors, etc. We should touch on the fact that cement tiles have come back in fashion. Interestingly, a lot of the porcelain tile manufacturers are picking up on the cement tile trend and are making the same look in the more durable porcelain tile. It’s a really neat tie-in to our history, with the products we carry now.” BVC: What do your company operations entail? Ramsay: “We have one physical location – the front part of the building is the showroom, where we feature the different tiles in our own custom displays to show people what’s possible. Then we have a warehouse facility in the back, and offices and storage upstairs. Our 10 employees make up a phenomenal team. Everyone is integral to Nassau Tile – the business can’t function without someone doing their job. Most of them have been with us for a long time. For example, our customer service manager, Shelley, has been here about 15 years. It’s a small, family business, where we all work