From a loved ones garage to a Shepparton showroom

Frank and Mary Latorre originally worked from their bedroom and garage when in 1979 they

Frank and Mary Latorre originally worked from their bedroom and garage when in 1979 they started small business enterprise that would expand to become Shepparton Tile and Lights Centre, a retailer with a 40-year historical past.

Collectively, the husband and wife acquired the ins and outs of importing and retailing ceramic tiles, and their enterprise swiftly grew.

“I was in vans and I could not make any cash, so I made the decision to go into tiles,” Frank suggests.

In the early times the pair sourced a good deal of stock from Melbourne and transported it to Shepparton them selves.

“I used to acquire the orders and go down to decide them up with the truck,” Frank says.

Then Frank and Mary put in the weekend driving deliveries all more than town.

A younger family: Mary and Frank Latorre in the tile shop with their a few young children, Christina, Cosi and Joey.

Just one skeptical provider was honest with Frank from the outset and explained to the budding businessman he did not believe the tile store would final.

“I questioned him for a box of tiles for samples with unique colors, and when he gave them to me he informed me I’d go broke within just 6 months,” Frank states.

Evidently, the wholesaler’s prediction was critically off kilter.

As an impartial household owned and operated business enterprise, Frank and Mary compensated no hire or franchise expenses and could provide tiles at up to fifty percent the value of their rivals.

Frank begun importing tiles from Italy, Spain, Japan and China.

Early days: Mary managing admin in the business office.

Although her partner taken care of his reasonable share of the offer and distribution logistics, Mary’s specialty became consumer assistance.

“He does all the driving around, acquiring the purchase together,” Mary says.

“I aid the clients out . . . it’s their residence, so they’ve got to be pleased with what they’re obtaining.”

Christina Latorre, Frank and Mary’s daughter, suggests her mum requires the time to hear to what her customers want.

“Mum will consider to match tiles up as carefully as achievable . . . to operate with them and save them funds,” Christina claims.


Tendencies have altered considerably around the years and Mary states shoppers these times want clean up, simple, fashionable aesthetics.

“Before it was all these designs all over the ground, and all this large stuff,” she claims.

The small business experienced its initial standalone shopfront on Longstaff St, until finally Frank determined to purchase land and make a showroom on Melbourne Rd about 30 decades back.

Right now Shepparton Tiles and Lights is a group exertion, with Frank and Mary’s grownup little ones Joey, Cosi and Christina supporting out along with Mary’s sister Lena Cirillo.

Frank and Mary’s eldest, Joey, took up tiling as a trade, and his competencies aligned neatly with the loved ones business enterprise.

Joey operates his individual business enterprise Progress Tile Contractors with additional than 20 decades of experience less than his belt, indicating his parents in no way have to seem significantly for a tradesman.

Founders: Frank and Mary Latorre constructed Shepparton Tile and Lighting Centre from the floor up.

Frank suggests his family members to start with believed he was joking when he advised growing further to sell lights and heaters, but his instinct proved suitable, and business is going perfectly.

Extra than 40 decades due to the fact they started off out, Frank and Mary plan to retain working as extensive as they’re in a position.

They hope their little ones will get the reins when the time will come, and Christina says she’s eager, as long as her brothers pitch in.

“It would be very good to carry on the family historical past,” Christina states.