Case Studies

Mees Distributors Inc.

Unique tile and stone in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio

Since 1937 Mees Distributors Inc. has led the Ohio stone and tile market with an enormous inventory of unique products. The company started out small. Founded by twin brothers Howard and Stanley Mees, the business is in its second generation of family ownership and caters to architects, designers, contractors and homeowners throughout Ohio. The company has expanded to five locations and employs 42 people.

“This is the oldest tile company in the United States,” says Howard Mees’ son, also named Howard Mees. “We have a very unique business for several reasons. For one, we have been importing marble from Italy for 67 years. We also have the largest selection in the region and we can do things that a lot of companies can’t.”

While many of Mees Distributors’ competitors dabble in a little of everything, the company stands apart in its ability to cover the full gambit of stone and tile applications. While the business serves exclusively as a supplier, Mees and his colleagues have established long-term relationships with several qualified, experienced contractors who can get the job done correctly.

“I’ve been here since I was 10 — if I can’t tell you a good contractor, you won’t find one,” Mees laughs. “We don’t install, but I can make recommendations. Of course, you can do it yourself — you can have your grandmother do it if you want, but it’s important to have someone who knows what they’re doing.”

Distinct products

Mees’ pride and joy is the company’s main showroom. At 10,000 square feet, this Cincinnati location is one of the largest showrooms in the U.S. “It’s full of nothing but ceramic tile, marble and granite and we’re open to the public,” he explains. “Every day people come in and say they have been all over town and never seen anything like that. I’ve been doing this a long time and nobody has all the different products we handle — not even close. You can bring a picture in of something you like and I can tell you or show you what it is. We’ve seen, and probably have it — it would be like trying to show Houdini a new trick.”

Mees Distributors carries the supplies to tackle absolutely anything that can be done in ceramic tile, marble or granite.

“Something that’s popular now — and we just unloaded a truck with this yesterday — is ceramic that looks like wood,” Mees notes. “It looks like Parquet flooring and people really like it. I’m the procurement officer so I get to find all the wild new things. Every day we get new pictures of granites and marbles and ceramic tiles.”

“Another thing that’s neat is that for 30 years, people could access a total of 25 to 30 colors of granite,” he continues. “But every mountain in the world is a different color, so there are 4,000 different colors of granite. Now we don’t carry that many, but we do have more than 300 colors in stock of slabs for counters and vanities — nobody in town has that.”

NO project too large — or too small

Mees Distributors has provided materials for a broad range of applications, and Mees says there is no project too large or too small. “We have supplied remodeling projects for big hotels as well as for a little powder room in someone’s house. We cover all ends of the market. We’ve done projects all over the spectrum.”

The company supplied quality tile and stone for the former Stouffers Inn in downtown Cincinnati, recently renamed the Millennium Hotel. Other work includes the well-known Fountain Square mall downtown. “We do big stone, smaller tiles and even all the little mosaics — the 1×1 tiles. We even still stock the hexagon tiles like in your grandma’s bathroom.”

One of the most memorable projects for Mees has been the company’s work with contractors at the Cincinnati Reds Stadium. This landmark project included complicated glass mosaics — Mees and his colleagues helped to hand-pick the materials. These glass mosaics depict moments of baseball history and feature detailed ballplayers against stunning backdrops.

Mees and his team look forward to more challenging and unusual projects in the years to come. While the dip in the housing market presented challenges, the economy is on a slow but steady incline, opening up new opportunities in the market every day. Mees Distributors will be there to take them on.

With extensive product and industry knowledge, Mees Distributors continues to stand out in the market. Few companies can claim the experience and expertise of Mees and his team. After 77 years in business, Mees Distributors Inc. is just getting started. 

Published on: November 25, 2015

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