If you’ve worked the trades in town any time in the last 20 years, you may have heard the name Redding Tile. Maybe you’ve worked along side the tile guys from the company while contracting with Palomar or other builders in the community. Or you may have a gorgeous counter top flawlessly fabricated and installed by their granite guys in your kitchen. Or perhaps you’ll remember the “catchy” jingle all over the radio about a decade ago written by the “Folgers In Your Cup” guy, “Redding Tile and Stone Works…Where Quality Comes First.”
Okay, maybe not. Still, regardless of how, chances are likely that you’ve heard the name of one of the biggest tile contractors in town. For some people it’s harder to forget than the jingle. Redding Tile is more than just a name or a company though, or even a commercial jingle. Redding Tile is a story. More specifically it’s the story of lasting work and a living legacy that begins and continues with the name of one man you may remember named Charles Candelaria.
If you haven’t heard of Redding Tile, surely you’ve heard of Chuck. Maybe he made you smile or laugh. Maybe he went the extra mile for you on a project. Or maybe he rubbed you the wrong way at a job site, as he often did, while on his visits to ensure his vision for quality work was coming along to fruition.
The story of Redding Tile is not merely the story of a tile company. It’s is the story of Chuck himself who, channeling the spirit of all great American entrepreneurs, packed up his belongings, his wife Brenda and daughters Maria and Christina in tow, and left behind everything he always knew in the big city of San Jose to come up here to a small town called Redding. His dream, knowing hardly a thing about the industry at the time, was to start a tile business from bare scratch. Behind him was what he knew his whole life. The town he was born in and spent his whole life in, his extended family of loving Latino brothers and sisters/nieces and nephews, and everything he had built for years as a professional working in the Silicon Valley. With courageous-and the provision of his family at stake-he followed a dream not knowing if he would succeed or not.
In a nut shell, that’s who Chuck was. He could and would do anything he put his mind to, anything. And we he would do so in such a way that others could follow in his steps. In fact it wasn’t long before some of the extended family he moved away from came to join him and learn the tile trade too. Chuck was a trail blazer, and it’s evident in the company he created that still stands 25 years after he moved north. Clearly, since we all know him now, and since most of us know the name Redding Tile, he did succeed. But not without getting dirty from hard work and not without first overcoming great obstacles.
Redding Tile business was conducted out of a home office for the better part of a decade when it began. Having started with a partner, Chuck would later take the reigns ownership upon himself, acquiring only a handful of employees and pushing the growth of his company with each passing year. During that time Chuck did a lot of the manual labor himself. Five years after he began, Chuck had his best idea yet. He wanted to be the first granite fabricator in the North State and invested in his first slab saw as well as his first shop outside of his home. He then began finding and training skilled granite fabricators to polish and fine-tune counter tops made out of natural stone.
Having the slab saw changed everything for Chuck and for Redding Tile, which then became known as Redding Tile and Stone Works. Being the only fabricator in town at the time, business sky rocketed.
Soon Chuck would incorporate and purchase his first full show room and filled it with hand picked designer tile lines that could set Redding Tile and Stone apart from other tile and granite stores in the North State. He also hired more skilled tile setters and trained them to the standard of superb quality and craftsmanship he created on the job himself, setting him even further apart from other installers in the North State.
From then on, Redding Tile and Stone would become what is known for today. High quality materials, trend setting designers, superb fabrication, and excellence in installation. Some of the men who started that work in the fabrication shop are still with Redding Tile today, and the quality and beauty of that work continues.
In the summer of 2014, Charles passed away on Lake Shasta doing what he loved most. Being on the water. Fishing. And above all, being with family, laughing, and relishing in a life that was made more vibrant with the fruit of his hard work and his vision.
Though Charles is gone, his spirit lives on within Redding Tile & Stone. He believed above all things, quality was the most important thing. The company’s original slogan which stands today, “Where Quality Comes First,” (you know, the one from the jingle) was something he lived by and required from all his workers. The torch has been passed now, and today Redding Tile & Stone continues to grow and expand through the hard work of loving family members and long time apprentices of Chuck who seek to ensure the integrity of his dream preservers.
He and his family also have a dream that the torch can be passed to people they have not yet met who wish to become skilled in trades that will bring integrity and much needed revitalization to the infrastructure of Redding through top of line craftsmanship. Before his passing Chuck talked often of his concerns when it came to a downtrend in people seeking work as tradesmen. He desired to be a part of that solution. And though he is physically gone, he will still be able to do that through the Charles Candelaria Memorial Foundation which will seek to educate, inform, and employee people of all age groups, genders, and cultures who wish to learn a skill in a builder’s trade.
The most successful business leaders in the country will tell you that their success stories start with the top-that the workmanship DNA of any company can not be different than the workmanship DNA of the person who leads it. Chuck was a high quality, trend setting, superb, and excellent leader and he left behind that legacy not only for his company but for any person who knew him. But his story didn’t begin at the top, it began with he strapped on a pair of knee pads and laid the tile himself. Quite literally, his success was built from the ground up. No doubt, from Heaven he still truly desires to see others benefit from the trail he blazed and build something of superb quality from the ground up. His spirit will live on through his family at Redding Tile & Stone, and through many others thanks to his foundation.