For over 30 years, Cliff Hirsch has been in search of the world’s highest quality tile and, time after time, he’s found it. From modest beginnings as a bathroom remodeling business that began in 1984, Island Tile has evolved into Central Florida’s leading distributor and installer of a vast selection of brands, superior in artistry, sustainability and durability—all at the best prices.
Joining distinguished brands with artistic talent, customers at Island Tile are offered remarkable tile design. The team of highly skilled designers and tile artists transform ordinary areas into custom masterpieces, revealing the full potential of each home. “One of the most current trends are tiles that look like real wood,” Hirsch said. “You can take a home that is very dated and with a little renovation—put new floors over top of old floors that give it the look of rustic beach lodge, or feature walls in the home with unique mosaics.”
Island Tile’s boutique-style showroom on U.S.1 in Melbourne showcases cutting-edge products. “Going to two or three major international shows a year, I am exposed to things. I’m willing to be the first guy in Brevard County to take the leap and expose residents to these styles they might not otherwise have seen in their lifetime,” Hirsch said. “We’ve taken chances, and we’ve been successful.”
Building relationships in Italy, Spain, Turkey, Brazil and many other countries, Hirsch has acquired exclusive distribution rights with numerous well-known tile manufacturers. “The most unique thing, especially in Italy, is the majority of factories are still family owned versus corporate owned. They pay a lot more attention to the relationship—you’re more part of the family.” Like his Italian suppliers, Hirsch instills traditional family values into his business. “We treat the employees and customers alike—the way we would treat a family member.”
Managing a successful business isn’t simple, but Hirsch is thankful to have his family supporting him behind the scenes. “It’s not easy for me to leave ten days at a time and work until eight at night when redesigning the showroom,” he said. “My wife, Lesa, and my family are very supportive of my efforts and my goals. It would be hard to do things at the level we’ve done them without their support and understanding.”
Hirsch studied marine biology in Wilmington, N.C. and his love for the ocean led him to Melbourne. “It is a big part of my life, the ocean, and everything surrounding it,” he said. “Growing up, I was the youngest kid in Lakeland to become a certified diver. The beautiful, natural things we have here in Brevard brought me here, and my business started after.”◆