Driving the Industry Forward Through Experiential Learning & Immersion | by Emma Reuland

Since the 1930s, Centura has established itself as a leader in the distribution of ceramic tiles across North America. With their rich history of working with Italian ceramic brands dating back to the 60s and their steadfast dedication to continue to grow their relationships with Italian ceramic brands, we are pleased to honor Centura with the Confindustria Ceramica North American Distributor Award!
To learn more about this standout company, we sat down for a virtual one-on-one with Ross Keltie, VP of Sales and Marketing.


Congratulations on receiving the 2020 North American Distributor Award! Tell us about Centura, and how it’s grown over the past 80 years.

Central Supply Company was originally founded in 1933 in Toronto, Ontario by Julian Selling. Donald Cowie joined the company in the 40s, Mr. Selling retired in the 50s. The company banded together with several other partners to shape what is now Centura Tile. Since its founding over 80 years ago, we now have 14 locations and employ over 600 people across Canada, including Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, London, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton and Halifax. The company is now co-owned by the Cowie family (Toronto), DelNet family (London) and the Maddalena family (Halifax) and is considered one of the top 10 ceramic distributors in North America.

Today we strive to create an immersive and visual experience both virtually and in our showrooms. The Quebec showroom, for example, was designed by Coarchitecture and features Italian tile all across the exterior facade. The interior was designed with stone and tile incorporated into the layout of the space so that the shopper can visualize products in situ rather than solely based on small samples. We also are one of the few companies to feature a visualizer option on our website, which allows you to explore different floor and wall covering options in your own room before you purchase.


(Photo by Stephane Groleau. Courtesy of Centura)


What sets Centura apart? In other words, what were the steps that led to your reputation as a high-caliber distributor of Italian ceramic products?

Centura represents a brand that lives and breathes a dedication to sharing Italian ceramics with North America, from rural Nova Scotia to bustling Vancouver. Not only do we have many long standing relationships with Italian tile manufacturers (some date back up to more than 30 years!), We also plan annual trips, inviting 70-80 architects and designers to the factories/showrooms of Sassuolo and Maranello, Italy; host frequent seminars primarily promoting Italian tile; and produce two of our own publications, Centura Magazine and Centura Outdoor Tile Guide, which feature many Ceramics of Italy brands front and center.


What are some popular innovations/ applications/ trends you have seen in flooring and wall covering this year?

We’ve definitely seen a growing interest in large format tiles and outdoor porcelain pavers– we actually have been giving installation seminars for large format and outdoor tiles.



(Photo by Stephane Groleau. Courtesy of Centura)


Ceramic tile makes up 65% of your company’s sales. What is it about ceramic tile, especially Italian tile that stands out to you?

We like to say, tile is our business and we take it seriously. Italian tile is the definition of quintessential ceramic excellence. With its rich history, varied and ancient techniques, sustainable production process and lasting excellence, Italian ceramic tile is truly in a league of its own. We look forward every year to Cersaie and Coverings because we know the importance of sourcing products and learning about new innovations from the high caliber manufacturers that exhibit–especially the Ceramics of Italy members.


April 2020