Ever since finishing high school, Scott Andress has worked in factories at home and overseas to study the process of making tiles.
He’s in tune with the latest developments, techniques and trends that may be floating in the air. When questioned about the type of finish or density, he can quickly use his knowledge to deliver a quite accurate answer.
“You name it, I’ve done it in this industry,” he said.
It’s safe to say Andress knows his tiles, which is a good thing since he is the owner of J & G Tile and Marble, a tile store featuring imported ceramic, marble, and glazed porcelain.
The shop, located at 22 U.S. Highway 130 in Bordentown, has a 4,000-square-foot showroom in the front. It also has a 4,000-square-foot showroom in the back, where 48 different examples of tile are installed in the floor. There is a wide variety of tiles for walls and floors of kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, dining rooms and wherever else you can dream of.
Most of the tiles can’t be found in your big-box hardware retailer; 90 percent of the J&G inventory comes from places like Italy, Brazil, Spain and Portugal.
Andress said one reason most of the tiles are imported is because there aren’t many U.S. factories in operation. But he also cited his preference for the overseas tile-making industry. Their method of tile pressing and finishing is just much more advanced, he said. Some of the featured tiles at J & G are put through 16 different processes to ensure quality.
“They build things to last,” he said of the overseas manufacturers. “They’ve been making them for thousands of years.”
One thing he didn’t mention is that the tiles are just plain beautiful. Milk shades of beige and light pastel colors occupy many of the individual stands of tiles but there are also sharp vivid colors as well.
“Most of the tiles we have in here are varied,” he said. “You want a blue tile? We got hundreds of them.”
Variety is the key word. There are some large tiles used primarily for museums or wide show rooms. The store just finished remodeling the floor of Pine Belt Chevrolet in Lakewood using two-by-two-foot tiles.
But of course, tiles come in many shapes and sizes, and with so many different options to choose it’s easy to get overwhelmed. That’s where J&G Tile and Marble’s designer services comes in, if needed. The on-staff designer can help match the tile layout and other features to the décor of the house.
The store allows customers to take samples home, so they can get a sense of the look and feel of the tiles before deciding on which pieces are right for them.
“We want them to have that look their looking for,” he said. “We put together a nice image in their house.”
The store also sells backsplashes and accents (some made of shiny glass) that can be placed inside the selected tiles.
“Glass is very popular these days – custom glass,” he said.
The store even has its own glassmaker, Sandra Wing, who has worked at J & G for 10 months now.
Wing, who is also the office manager, makes fused glass to create decorative pieces and accents. She’s even made jewelry from her talent. Her custom made accents can be found at the store as well.
The format of the store has changed quite a bit since the very beginning. Previously there were two locations: one at South Gold Drive off Highway 130, and one in Hamilton on Route 33.
At the time, the stores were tailored to manufacturers, and Andress worked for distributors visiting various tile companies. That’s when he met owners Joe and Patty Giovannitti.
Not too long after Joe passed away from a heart attack and Patty was left to run the store alone, Andress went back to help her out. When Patty subsequently succumbed to cancer, it left Andress to run the store himself.
Since that time, the operation has grown as well. Among the entire crew there is around 50 years of combined experience. The store also contracts with licensed electricians and plumbers as needed.
“We offer variety [and] expert knowledge from design to installation,” he said. “Plus, we are small enough. We still give [customers] that personal touch.”
For more information call J and G Tile and Marble at (609) 291-9910.