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Arizona Tile Celebrates 40 Years in Business

Feb 21, 2017

Arizona Tile Celebrates 40 Years in Business

John Huarte accepting Heisman Trophy, 1964
In 1977, after 10 years of playing football at the collegiate and professional levels, Heisman Trophy winner John Huarte decided to focus his leadership and team-building skills on a new business endeavor. He took a leap and signed a lease on the back of a cardboard box and opened the first Arizona Tile location in San Diego, California.

John and Eileen Huarte, 1987

First Lease
Forty years later – With hundreds of employees, nearly half of which have been with the company for over a decade, and many who have been with the company since the beginning, unparalleled customer service, and products from around the world – Arizona Tile has become one of the leading tile and slab distributors in the U.S.

“Our success solely comes from the vision that John and (his wife) Eileen Huarte had for this company when starting it – the sensibility that our relationships with our customers and our fellow employees are the most important aspect of what we do.” Said company President, Bob Traxler.

Arizona Tile strives to provide a uniquely positive experience for each customer. The company prides itself on providing customers with ideas and information they may need in order to move forward with their projects. Whether a customer is working on a large commercial project, or creating a small mosaic design on a table, the company endeavors to provide that customer with the best experience they possibly can.

“We’ve stayed focused on taking care of our customer needs as best as we can, and they’re satisfied and become a referral service,” said founder John Huarte. Beyond assisting with products, the company strives to meet the necessities of their customers by listening to what their product and location needs may be. This has helped Arizona Tile identify which markets would benefit from a nearby showroom, as well as pinpoint which types of products customers are most in need of.
Ontario, CA Quartz Warehouse

Originally Arizona Tile began as a ceramic tile supplier. As their customer needs changed, the company evolved to accommodate those needs. In 1993 Arizona Tile introduced slab materials to their inventory. At that time the company had twelve slab colors available. In 2017 the company is now one of the largest slab distributors in the United States offering over 235 slab products. In addition to slabs, the company also distributes several various natural stone, porcelain, glass and mosaic tile products that you won’t find anywhere else on earth.

Still, the company’s executive team attributes much of Arizona Tile’s success to the dedication of their employees. John Huarte states “There’s a sports element to our teamwork. People aren’t perfect, and they’re going to make mistakes, but you have to learn from them. And I think without ever even talking about it, from my examination, (the company) has naturally followed that sports culture.”

John’s disposition has also had a great impact on the way the company operates, and has a significant impact on how employees work together. Eileen Huarte recalls,

“John’s always been an extremely humble man. And when he was in leadership (at Arizona Tile) that meant that there was no such thing as a closed door. He was accessible, and he was willing to do anything. If he was in the warehouse and saw somebody loading boxes of tile, he would be right there to help move the job along. If the showroom needed to be cleaned he jumped right in and cleaned it, and had the showroom ready on Monday morning for customers. And I think that everyone else around him picked up on his energy and we had a lot of great people early on who didn’t think of themselves as having just one title or as wearing one hat.
They recognized that they were a part of something here, and we all wanted to make this good.”
4572002182514572002796859John Huarte, Arizona Tile Founder

It’s that willingness to help others that sets Arizona Tile apart in the industry. A willingness to help their customers achieve the design they’re looking for, a willingness to grow as their customers grow, and a willingness to grow a team of dedicated employees who can assist customers long term.

Austin, TX Location – Opening 2017
“We have always seen ourselves as a company serving our customers in the western United States. But we continue to grow our footprint geographically. And as our customers have continued to grow and have started moving eastward, I think there’s more call for us to grow and to cast our eyes a little further east, and as time goes on, I think we will. The single thing that drives (our growth) more than anything else is our wish to create opportunity and value for both our employees and also our customers,” said company President, Bob Traxler.

Tempe, AZ Showroom

San Diego, CA Location – First Arizona Tile Showroom
This growth is evident as the company excitedly awaits the opening of their newest branch in Austin, TX at the start of 2017. John Huarte’s son, and Arizona Tile’s Vice President of Operations, Mark Huarte, adds “We’re excited to announce the building of our Austin, TX location and our intent is to continue that path with another store.”

As Arizona Tile celebrates 4 decades of dedicated service to their customers, they look forward to growing from their roots. “Growing from that humble mindset that really was the formula of our success.” – Bob Traxler, President.

Mission Viejo, CA facility opens
Austin, TX facility opens (new market)
Houston, TX facility opens
New Livermore, CA branch opens
Company expands to Texas (Dallas)
Katella Slab facility opens (in Anaheim, CA)
New locations open in Ontario, Murrieta, and Roseville, CA and Denver, CO
Arizona Tile starts selling quartz slabs
Office in India opens
New Palm Desert, CA facility completed
New Las Vegas, NV facility completed
Salt Lake City, UT location opens
Houston Distribution facility opens

Scottsdale location opens first building
Office in China opens
– company undertakes design and
New Albuquerque, NM facility opens
construction from start to finish
Opened first facility in Rancho Cordova
Las Vegas, NV location opens
New Tempe, AZ facility completed
Entered the Denver market


2000 Office in Brazil opens

1988 Miramar opens 24,000 SF warehouse, at that point our largest under-roof building
1984 Albuquerque, NM Location open
1983 Entered the Anaheim market as Santa Fe Trading Company
1982 Company’s first computer system
1981 Tempe, AZ location opens


Locations open in San Marcos, CA and
Tucson, AZ
First location in AZ in Phoenix
Arizona Tile begins operation and opens first location in San Diego, CA


1994 Prescott, AZ location opens
San Diego, CA opens first slab location
1993 Miramar, CA showroom opens
Arizona Tile begins first involvement in slab business
Glendale, AZ location opens


About Arizona Tile
Founded in 1977 in San Diego, California, Arizona Tile has grown into a nationally recognized commercial and residential distributor with more than 25 showrooms throughout seven Western states. Arizona Tile is one of the largest independently-owned importers of stone in the United States, offering more than 230 varieties of granite, travertine, onyx, slate, marble, limestone and quartz, plus medallions, porcelain tile and other design creations. Founded by John Huarte, former NFL player and Heisman Trophy winner, the company is still family-owned after
40 years.


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For immediate releaseMedia Contact: Samantha Stinocher

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