After more than two decades of work as a contractor kneeling on tile floors, Tim O’Neill decided in 2006 to give his knees a break and move into the retail building materials business. Now the owner of Seacoast Tile & Kitchens in Southold, he has achieved a feat that few in the construction trades have managed over the past several years: his business is expanding.
Mr. O’Neill is now the new owner of Southold Floors, which shares a building with Seacoast Tile, and he’s hoping to turn his expanded business into the North Fork’s premiere destination for decorating. The name of the combined business will now be Seacoast Kitchen & Flooring.
The flooring company had been owned by the Vaccariello family, who still own the building. Mr. O’Neill first met Len Vaccariello and his family when he purchased flooring from them while still working as a contractor.
“They’re really nice people, and they’re good landlords,” he said in a recent interview in the 5,000 square-foot showroom on Route 48. Even before Mr. O’Neill bought the flooring business, there was an open doorway between the two businesses, allowing customers to walk from one to the next and continue their shopping. Now, they’ve moved some of the tile to the flooring side of the building and have combined employee work stations to give the space a cohesive feel as a single business.
“This is a real design center now. We all enjoy working with people and helping them,” said Mr. O’Neill, who now, along with his two employees, Shanette Rivera and Debbie Savoca, helps clients put together the aesthetics of a home.
In addition to tile, carpet and hardwood and laminate flooring, the shop is now selling cabinetry, hardware and HunterDouglas window treatments, and Seacoast Tile has a relationship with DunRite Appliances in Center Moriches, which provides competitive prices on appliances that fit the shop’s custom cabinetry.
The shop works with Levant Kitchen Furniture, an Amish company that Mr. O’Neill said provides the best value in custom cabinetry, with soft close doors, innovative corner cabinets and a wide variety of finishes. He said they complete custom cabinets in about four weeks.
“That’s unheard of in the industry,” he said.
“We started during the crash, but the community really accepted us,” said Mr. O’Neill. “We offer the best price and the best value. The big box stores don’t have our selection or service. You can really have a designed space that’s not off the shelf.”
He added that it is important for homeowners not to skimp and use cheap materials in a space that they intend to live in for a long time.
He also tries to stay on the cutting edge with new materials, including porcelain tiles that look like stone or even wood.
“We try to get the most cutting-edge, new stuff. That’s what sets you apart from the box store,” he said. “It really is amazing what’s available.”