Radiation in Granite is Not Dangerous
From what we know, there are two ways in which countertops, tiles and other finishes made of granite might emit any level of radiation. The first is by the release of tiny amounts of the radioactive gas radon which can be inhaled. The second is by direct radiation from the surface itself to the homeowner. In both cases, the radiation emitted is from the same process - natural radioactive decay of one element into another. Compared to other radiation sources in the home and outside, the risk to the homeowner from radioactivity emitted from a granite countertop or tiles is practically non-existent. In fact, the amount of radon gas emitted by a granite countertop is less than one millionth of that already present in the household air from other sources.
JUST TILE IT
STEPHEN L. CABRAL, Ph.D.
Joe, an Azorean immigrant with a penchant for Harleys, sat at the helm of his Fairhaven business office. He deftly handled phone calls while scanning the inventory and emails on his computer. His desk top was awash in a sea of invoices and order forms.
His younger brother, Manny, who manages the Taunton shop, waded through cases of tiles stacked waist high on the floor. He pulled a classic blue and white Portuguese tile from the wall and dusted it carefully. The azulejo bore their family name and crest – GARCIA.
“Portuguese craftsmen have been making plain and decorative tiles for the floors and walls of their homes and castles since the 15th century,” Manny explained.
“And we have dedicated our family business to maintaining that tradition and bringing it into the 21st century,” Joe added as he hung up the phone.
Garcia Imported Tiles has become synonymous with quality products, affordable prices and professional service among builders and buyers on the Southcoast.
“You won’t find our name blasted on the radio, TV commercials or internet pop-ups,” Manny noted.
“We’re still old school,” Joe interjected. “Our family’s integrity and business reputation still rely on satisfied customers who spread the word.”
Mary and Peter Shephard of Berkley, Massachusetts still rave about the stone floor they installed in their rural cottage overlooking the Taunton River. Peter stated: “We chose the Unicom Settecento Bruno rounded-edge porcelain for its rustic look. Our stone floor complements the house and blends with the local habitat.”
“We love the look, feel and manageability of our floors and our white-wave granite, kitchen counters,” Mary added. “The surfaces are durable and easy to clean.”
The Garcias were also praised for their customer service. Mary offered an enthusiastic endorsement without prompting. “We dealt with the entire family and couldn’t be more satisfied. Everyone was friendly, courteous, helpful and efficient. We never experienced any snags. They were just fabulous!”
The Garcia brothers are finally advertising their name in style. Joe grinned and said: “We decided to take our latest promotional campaign to the streets.” Manny completed his sales pitch and added: “So we bought two Jeep Liberties and plastered our name, locations and phone numbers all over them in bold black and white. You can’t miss us.”
Joe and Manny Garcia have been working together in a series of family enterprises since childhood. Their parents came to America shortly after the volcanic eruption that rocked Fayal in 1957. The family relocated in Terçeira and immigrated to Taunton.
“I was only one year old when our family arrived in 1959. My brothers and sisters were born in America, but we were definitely raised Portuguese,” Joe recalled. “My father started a grocery store in 1970 and put us to work. Our family and business operations just grew over the decades.”
Their father, Manuel, snow balled one business enterprise into the next. The boys worked in his Portuguese bakery from 1975 until 1979. Both graduated into the family wine and tile operations in the 1980’s.
“Not bad for a couple of Taunton High grads,” Manny smirked. Joe went on to Johnson & Wales University for two years, but returned to the family business full time.
“I didn’t meet a single, business professor who could teach me as much as my Dad,” Joe beamed proudly. “We were definitely born to the breed!”
Mr. Manuel D. Garcia established his tile business in Taunton in 1983, and Joe opened the Fairhaven annex in 1995. “Our first shop was a 600 square foot hole in the wall in the CVS plaza on route 6. We purchased and remodeled the old Newbury TV building on 410 Main Street a year ago. Now we have over 4000 square feet of kitchen, bath and tile displays designed by local craftsmen.
Manny teamed up with his younger sister, Caroline, at the Taunton site in 2003. “She manages the marble and granite fabrication warehouse on Floral Street. They cut and polish countertops, vanity back splashes and fireplace mantles on site,” Manny stated. “I run the 1500 square foot, tile showroom and warehouse at 32 Weir Street.”
The Garcia clan imports their stock directly from Portugal, Brazil, Spain and Italy. The top line Italian manufacturers include Unicom, Piemme and Settcento. You can inspect Spanish samples from Azulev and GresArce, or Secafe and Sumare tiles from Brazil. Portuguese purists can order from Domino or Revegres.
“Top quality products and service don’t have to cost more if you can cut out the middleman,” Joe explained. “That’s why we deal directly with the European manufacturers.
Business has boomed in recent years, and their installation team of Portuguese craftsmen has tripled. Manny and Joe still greet clients at the shop and conduct free estimates at their home.
“We offer layout, design and planning consults, and our staff will help you select the materials, color and styles that suit your home and taste. Customer satisfaction still matters to us,” Manny insisted as he passed the family tile back to his brother.
Garcia Imported Tiles offers a full spectrum of tiling products and services. Joe ran down the list by rote.
“We specialize in tile floors, kitchen counters and backsplashes, half-baths, master baths, home spas and commercial facilities.”
Ilya and Jim Broughton sought Joe’s expertise when they redesigned the master bathroom of their Colonial home in South Dartmouth. Ilya, a textile designer, had a clear vision for her health spa.
“I wanted an Old World, Renaissance look, and Joe implemented my vision in a practical and affordable way. We selected crackled, subway tiles with some raised, decorative reliefs for the walls. We matched vanity and Jacuzzi tops with the swirls of salmon and champagne taupe on the marble floor. I just love it!”
The Garcia list of commercial clients includes: Wequasset Inn at Chatham, Algonquin Industries, East Coast Dental Associates, New Bedford YMCA, Friendly Ice Cream and Dunkin Donuts. “No job is too big or too small for our crew,” Manny insisted.
The Garcia Brothers are also noted for the community spirit and charitable fund raising efforts. They have sponsored youth sports programs, college funds and local community based organizations. Joe has sponsored a girls’ youth softball team in Fairhaven since 1997, and actively contributes to the Our Lady of Angels Catholic Association. Manny has funded scholarships for the Taunton High Portuguese Club and the Fundação Fialense in Taunton.
“Our recent success has been a blessing and a challenge,” Joe remarked as he reset the azulejo behind his desk. “We want to grow and retain the quality of a family owned and operated business.” Manny chimed in: “We offer a level of customer service that you won’t find in a Home Depot or Lowe’s. We are not simply merchants. We are family, and we love company. So come in and browse.”
Garcia Imported Tiles currently warehouses over 500,000 square feet of tile at their Taunton and Fairhaven sites. You can visit their showrooms and select your favorite style from 1000 product lines manufactured in seven different countries.
Whether you’re designing your ultra-modern dream home or restoring an old Victorian or tenement kitchen and bath, keep the Garcia name in mind and chant their latest mantra, “Just tile it!”