Armonk resident Dave Gasch, president of Terra Tile & Marble, which has a presence in Briarcliff Manor, Millwood, and Fishkill, traces the beginnings of his family business back to his father’s roots in Alcora, Spain, in the province of Castellón. It was in this prolific center of ceramic art and tile production that Manuel Gasch learned the secrets of the tile trade that he would later pass on to his son.
“My father came to America in 1973 and started as an agent selling tiles from factories in Spain to tile stores across the United States,” Dave says. “In 1989, he rented his own warehouse space in Ossining and brought in ceramic tile containers, which he sold to the wholesale trade.”
“In addition to working with architects, builders, interior designers, and homeowners, Terra Tile sells to more than 175 wholesale tile-and-stone dealers on the East Coast.”
Looking to sell to the retail market, Manuel opened up the Terra Tile & Marble showroom and warehouse in Briarcliff Manor in 1993. Dave soon joined the business, learning the trade from a young age. “Ever since I was about 11 or 12 years old, I worked in the warehouse, pulling orders and sweeping the floors. I also spent summers in Spain, working at a family friend’s ceramic tile factory,” Dave recalls. “When I was in college, I started selling tile to customers in our showroom, and ever since I graduated from Villanova, in 2000, I’ve been here full-time.”
He has seen the company grow enormously over the years. In the beginning, the company sold mostly ceramic and marble tile imported from Spain and Italy. Since then, Terra Tile & Marble has expanded into mosaics and launched its stone countertop division in 1998. “In 2000, we opened up a showroom in Fishkill [the store moved from Route 9 to 1004 Main Street this past August]. Then, in 2006, we built our warehouse in Millwood, where we have our slab yard and do our stone fabrication,” Dave says. In addition to working with architects, builders, interior designers, and homeowners, Terra Tile & Marble sells to more than 175 wholesale tile-and-stone dealers on the East Coast.
Dave Gasch took over the business when his father passed away, in 2016, and he has continued to successfully build the company (Gasch’s mom, Susan, is still working in the business, on the administrative side). “In the past five years we have really expanded our countertop business tremendously,” he says. “We’ve acquired some newer machinery, and I’ve become very focused on that. We measure; we install; now we’re bringing in more stone slabs from places like Brazil and Italy for our customers to choose from.”
Gasch adds that Terra Tile & Marble also stocks a broad range of materials “because if customers come in and need something right away, we have it here, and their contractors can come pick it up the next day. If they need more, even if it’s two additional pieces, we have it, and they won’t have to wait for them,” he says. “We’re one of the largest-stocking tile importers in Westchester. Whether it’s a stone look, slate look, or wood look in ceramic, or it’s marble, we carry it.”
Gasch spends a great deal of time staying on top of the latest trends in the industry, including going to trade shows in Italy or Spain or meeting with tile manufacturing representatives. According to Gasch, one of the latest trends is that tiles are getting bigger.
“I live in Armonk, and all my neighbors are my customers. We’re in a great area. It’s a place where people really care about their homes; they invest in them, and we’ve built a business by servicing them.”
“When I started, tiles were basically four-by-four or six-by-six inches. Now, they’re two-by-four feet, three-by-six feet, and even bigger. Currently, we’re doing giant porcelain slabs, where we can basically create seamless showers, with each wall having its own slab,” says Gasch. “We just did a polished-porcelain slab shower installation in Pound Ridge. The shower has the look of statuary marble but with the extreme durability of porcelain. There is no grout, and the slabs are book-matched at the seams.”
Gasch also notes that color is making a comeback. “A lot of people are choosing to do bright colors but typically on just one wall of their bathrooms. Blue, aqua, and green are popular, and then they’ll offset that with white or more muted shades everywhere else in the bathroom.”
This also applies to kitchens, where customers may be doing something bolder on their island and the perimeter in a more subdued color. “In Briarcliff Manor, we just installed a glossy Mediterranean-blue subway tile as a focal color above the client’s cooktop, while the countertop and cabinets are white,” he says.
“We’re one of the largest-stocking tile importers in Westchester. Whether it’s a stone look, slate look, or wood look in ceramic, or it’s marble, we carry it.”
When it comes to countertops, Gasch says that white quartz (an engineered stone) with marble-like veining is still the most popular product that the company fabricates for kitchens. He’s also starting to see that quartzite, which is a durable, natural stone that has the look of marble, is also growing in demand. “For countertops, color is making a comeback, with people choosing natural stone that is bolder and busier, with more movement,” he notes.
When asked what makes Terra Tile & Marble so successful, Gasch replies, “I live in Armonk, and all my neighbors are my customers. We’re in a great area. It’s a place where people really care about their homes; they invest in them, and we’ve built a business by servicing them.”