How We Chose Each of Our Wholesalers

Arley Tile and Flooring

Exceptional Quality in Tile, Stone & Flooring

Explore Granite & Quartz is only interested in working with a small group of dedicated wholesalers that will be our exclusive suppliers. One of my primary concerns in choosing our wholesalers is their knowledge of our region, which is the reason Arley kept coming up as a leader in the industry and the top choice of potential tile and flooring suppliers.

The Arley story starts in 1935 in Scranton Pennsylvania, when a man named Irving Levy opened a paint store. Soon linoleum flooring was a growing trend, and Irving saw the potential of adding a line of linoleum flooring to his offerings, so he took on a partner, Franklin Arndt and “Ar-Ley” wholesale was born.

Soon, the flooring business was far overshadowing their paint business, so Irving and Franklin dropped the paint and began to focus on flooring. With the addition of a second generation of partners, the company grew and expanded to cover most of New York and Pennsylvania. During the 1960s, the home decorator industry emerge and became one of their main sources of income, so Arley shifted focus again and became a strictly wholesale supplier.

Since 1999, Arley has focused solely on hard surface tiles and flooring options, rising to be the number one East Coast wholesaler of Tile, Stone, Glass, and Metal flooring options. Their success is attributed to strong family ties, willingness to promote key leaders from within and adhering to these three principles, which represent my philosophy as well.

  • Be honorable in everything you do.
  • Live up to your commitments, your word is your bond.
  • Be loyal to your suppliers and customers, they are the backbone of your business

With those principles, a long history in our region and a dedication to their business partners, I knew that I could count on Arley to have my customer’s backs. I was ready to sign them up, even before I took a look at their products but was equally impressed by their staggering array of tile and flooring options, with more than 10,000 products for sale across all of their brands. If you’ve ever sorted through tile samples, you would understand that this is an incredible number of choices. The average home improvement center will have fewer than 500 samples on hand, to give you an idea of how vast this is.

“I was almost sold before I even saw the product line”
- Jason Kidwell

What Makes Arley Unique

Arley’s Website Presents a Deep Dive Into Tile

To fully appreciate the level of detail Arley puts into their purchasing and sales decisions, you have to experience their website. For a first time visitor, the site is a bit daunting. You’ll find it’s comfortably broken down into product groupings by product type, or look.

  • Their catalog features over a dozen different categories of tile products. You’ll see things here you didn’t know existed.
  • Two of the most interesting are concrete look tiles and wood look tiles, both of which are incredibly on-trend in 2019.
  • A click into any of these options will bring up a few to dozens of new choices to give you detailed information down to every single tile.

Arley Works With Almost Two Dozen Tile Manufacturers

Although Arley produces some extraordinary tiles, they want to offer the best in every category. To accomplish that, Arley works with tile manufacturing experts to supply every kind of tile, giving them the ability to focus on what they do best, wholesale distribution.This allows small businesses like me, to give customers like you what you want and need.

  • Arley buyers spend summers on the road, traveling to various home improvement expos to keep up with the latest trends.
  • Every new partner is rigorously screened to ensure that only the best are represented by Arley Wholesale.
  • With the Family name on the line, Arley works hard to defend their hard-won reputation for excellence and value.

The Arley “Click and Tile” App Gives Unprecedented Design Options

With “Explore First” as our motto, we take giving you the best design options seriously. No one beats Arley Wholesale when it comes this. Without ever leaving your home, the Arley website gives you the opportunity to view and compare literally hundreds of different options in the rooms and settings commonly found in American homes.

  • Choose from a variety of room or product types to start your exploration
  • Apply different products to the surfaces in the images to get the look and feel you want
  • Click on any product to get information on the maker, size, style, and trim options of any applied product

Explore is Proud to be Connected to the Arley Family of Dealers

From their stated principles to their dedication to developing their company within family ties, to their worldwide search for the best possible tile in every category, Arley is the single best value in a tile wholesaler. Not only do they have a variety of styles and finishes that boggles the mind, but their price-conscious mindset also gives us greater flexibility in pricing to allow you more money to spend on other elements of your bath or kitchen project.

Take some time today to check out the Arley Wholesale website today. When you’ve narrowed down your options, give us a call and we’ll schedule a time to show you exactly how your favorite tile will look in your kitchen and baths. With Arley, they’re sure to have several you love. The fun part is exploring it all, the hard part will be making a decision. Explore first.

– Jason Kidwell, Owner, Explore Granite & Quartz

Spectrum Quartz

Innovative Quartz and Glass Designs

Our relationship with Spectrum Quartz started at a wholesale show in Orlando called Coverings. My first contact at their booth, John, was quick to refer me to their owner, Helen and after a brief conversation, they’d agreed to put me in touch with their regional sales manager, a cool guy named Otis. They treated me the way I want my customers to be treated, the first hurdle to making it into my exclusive catalog of wholesale sources.

For those who know me, crab cakes, french fries and an unsweetened iced tea at Ted’s Bulletin in the Mosaic District are about as “me” as brunch gets and Spectrum became a quartz countertop wholesaler of Explore. The quality people I met lined up with the quality full-size slabs they were showing me in their Chantilly, VA warehouse. At that point, another Explore Granite and Quartz partnership was born.

Spectrum is the offspring of Hirsch Glass an exquisite architectural glass manufacturer who started in old-world craftsmanship, building decorative stained glass, Tiffany lamps, and other household glass art. Their glass product lines now support the largest glass manufacturing firm in China. Hirsch established a reputation for excellence that enabled them to grow into new product lines.

As Hirsch moved into architectural glass and mosaics, quartz was a natural extension of their quality artistry and design aesthetic. They have always maintained a customer-centric business ethic that is exactly what I’m looking for when searching out partners to serve my Explore Granite customer family. We are striving to put the customer first in all phases of every project from sourcing to sales to installation and care after the fact. Spectrum joins us in that goal.

“Hirsch established a reputation for excellence that enabled them to grow into new product lines.”
- Jason Kidwell

What Makes Spectrum Unique

Five Distinct Collections

To categorize their products for design styling, Spectrum has developed three main collections, each featuring a different pattern and feel. Quartz is a very versatile stone with patterns that nearly mimic some other stone types, such as marble and some types of granite. Quartz can be subtle, or bold, making it ideal for the discerning homeowner who wants to set just the right mood.

Alpine Collection

The Alpine collection features subtle coloring in a light gray to near white with bold lines, reminiscent of marble. There are four patterns in this collection.

Elegance Collection

The Elegance collection features seven cloudlike patterns in a subtle range of grays.

Harmony Collection

The harmony collection features 29 bold patterns, ranging from subtle rose to graphic golds and blacks in a constellation of strong shapes.

Reflection Series

The reflection series is more along the lines of what you might think when you think quartz. The nine patterns feature subtle fields, with brilliant shards of color throughout.

Strata Collection

The strata collection is a grouping of nine cool colors, with subtle shifting patterns that give an almost aquatic feel in their movement.

Durability of Spectrum Quartz

While natural stone is often considered rugged and almost bulletproof as a countertop, there are a wide variety of hardnesses among the various stone products. Spectrum quartz tests their countertop products using a method known as the Mohs scale of hardness. This system was first developed in 1812 by German mineralogist, Friedrich Mohs. The scale bases its assessment on a scratch test between known mineral elements. This means that any mineral can be scratched by the next hardest and any successively harder mineral on the scale.

The Spectrum quartz countertops test reads Spectrum quartz at 7 Mohs, or identical to pure quartz in its native state. Only three minerals rate higher on the scale, making quartz the hardest typical countertop available. The three hardest are as follows.

  1. Diamond
  2. Corundum
  3. Topaz

The scale runs from one to ten, with talc (the mineral most baby powder is made of) being one and diamond being ten. So, basically, what I’m saying is, we sell quartz countertops because selling diamond countertops isn’t very practical. All kidding aside, this stuff is pretty tough.

In addition to receiving high marks in scratch resistance and density, Spectrum quartz also ranks as “unaffected” when tested for chemical resistance and staining, making it as close to an indestructible countertop as we’re likely to offer.

Other Advantages of Spectrum Quartz Countertops

While durability is a factor on any investment as large as a natural stone countertop, it’s hardly the only concern and Spectrum quartz ranks high in several other important categories involving food preparation surfaces.

Food safety

Kitchens are one of the first lines of defense in our fight to maintain healthy bodies. While almost any stone countertop gives better than average cleanability and promotes safety, quartz ranks as the highest in resistance to absorption, meaning liquids containing harmful bacteria cannot penetrate the surface, leaving behind highly infectious residue.

Stain resistance

Closely related to its ability to resist bacteria, quartz’s naturally nonporous surface resists most kinds of stains and etching from abrasive and corrosive chemicals.

Low maintenance

Spectrum quartz countertops are some of the easiest to maintain stone countertops. While other types of stone, such as granite, require sealers and special cleaners, Spectrum’s line of quartz is easily maintained with a damp rag.


Because of quartz’s strength, absorption resistance, and nearly impervious hard exterior, it can be used in a variety of settings where other stones are simply not suitable. It is possibly the most versatile of all stone products for interior decorating purposes.

Limited Lifetime Warranty

Because of its naturally rugged characteristics, quartz will last a lifetime and Spectrum is prepared to back that up. In single-family residence installations, the original owner has a guarantee against flaws and workmanship within the limitations of the written warranty, for as long as they own their home. You can’t ask for more than that.

– Jason Kidwell, Owner, Explore Granite & Quartz

Marble Systems

Local & Prestigious Marble

I’m deeply committed to sourcing products from wholesalers who are in our local region here at Explore Granite & Quartz, that is what first attracted me to Marble Systems. With a showroom located in Fairfax Virginia, they have roots in our local economy. The fact that they also supplied marble for the amazing Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas didn’t hurt either.

A few of their high profile projects:

With projects across the United States and around the world, Marble Systems has delivered marble for some highly prestigious projects.

  • In addition to The Bellagio, they’ve done marble projects for Caesars Palace and Mandalay Bay casino in Las Vegas
  • Their work is featured in the US Post Office building in Washington DC
  • Marble Systems architectural marble was used on both the Philippine and Spanish embassies in Washington DC

Local, of course, isn’t the only concern. In the home improvement business, there are several criteria a conscientious contractor needs to keep in mind when choosing wholesalers. With Marble Systems, I found everything I was looking for.

Marble slabs have been in use as architectural elements since the Romans first developed the ability to quarry and process it. Some of the world’s most famous works of art are carved from pure marble. As a countertop material, marble is one of the most dramatic and unique stones available. Marble helps create one of a kind kitchens that your guests won’t soon forget.

  • It’s an excellent stone for carving sculptures. The softer texture allows for extremely smooth textures and fine details.
  • Marble can be found in large format stones ideal for architectural moldings, columns and other details.
  • In interior design, marble has been used for countertops, wall coverings, and flooring. Many of America’s oldest buildings feature marble stone.

One of the struggles of selling marble countertops is limited stock. With a lot of companies, the colors and patterns they sell are in short supply. When I was looking for the ideal wholesaler to service Explore Granite & Quartz customers, I knew I had to find someone who could not only supply quality slabs but have a supply chain deep enough to meet the demand. Marble Systems gets an A on all counts.

“When I was looking for the ideal wholesaler to service Explore Granite & Quartz customers, I knew I had to find someone who could not only supply quality slabs but have a supply chain deep enough to meet the demand. Marble Systems gets an A on all counts.”
- Jason Kidwell

From their marble slab collection on their website

Marble is a metamorphic stone with a timeless history as a flooring, wall covering, paving material and sculptural medium. Think for a moment of the Taj Mahal, the Statue of David, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and perhaps your local courthouse. Then, you have thought of but a tiny sample of the cultural and utilitarian impact that marble has had on human civilization. Please enjoy!

What follows is a pictorial gallery of over 250 different marble slabs. Marble Systems products appear in thousands of architectural projects a year. With marble slabs seen in hotels, condos, shopping centers, and resorts, my confidence in their ability to deliver on home kitchen projects is 100%. If they can deliver on a project as large scale as The Bellagio Hotel and Casino, imagine what they can do for your kitchen and bathroom counter needs.

  • They keep slabs in varying thicknesses from ¼ to 1 ½ inch thick on stock and ready for delivery.
  • Marble Systems stocks marble in over 300 colors and patterns to fit any design.
  • Between their warehouses, Marble Systems has over 20 million square feet of natural stone in stock.

The Explore Granite & Quartz, Marble Systems Partnerships

From design to delivery, to installation, I’m committed to working with the local Marble Systems team in Fairfax, VA to bring you the best possible marble slabs for your kitchen and bath. I’m excited about giving you as many options to explore as possible and can’t imagine a better partner than Marble Systems to deliver on that promise.

Need marble? Explore Granite & Quartz is ready to help you find exactly the right marble for your kitchen and bath countertops.

– Jason Kidwell, Owner, Explore Granite & Quartz

Granite Gold®

If the Explore First story is one of entrepreneurship and a deep desire to see a contracting firm that puts customers first, Granite Gold® was fated to be a partner in that story. When you hear how they got started, you’ll completely understand why Granite Gold® is the only brand of stone care and maintenance products I would ever recommend for use by Explore Granite & Quartz clients.

The Granite Gold® story started in the 1950s when Leonardo Pellegrino came to the shores of the United States of America from Italy, bringing with him a strong work ethic and an old-world skill for stonework that he shared his apprentice-turned-stone-expert Pete.

Following a decade of learning closely with Leonardo, Pete Sciarrino took up the mantle to start his own stone business with his wife – Kathy, Leonardo’s daughter. Their son, Lenny, and his cousin, Lenny, – both named after Leonardo – followed in their grandfather’s footsteps and became experts in granite manufacturing, installation, and restoration, serving families throughout Southern California.

Together, they learned the craft and the family business at European Wholesale Countertops, where Lenny Sciarrino ran the operations as a young adult, while cousin Lenny Pellegrino created a name for himself in the restoration business under the name Pellegrino Stone Care – launching it nearly 27 years ago and still running strong today.

This is where the story gets good. As with many great products in our world today, the Granite Gold® brand started out of necessity. As the cousins worked together and compared notes, they realized their customers had a similar challenge: their customers were frequently asking “What should I use to clean my stone?”

In the late ‘90s, they started experimenting to find an answer to customers’ questions, and a few years later came up with a solution that was safe on all stone surfaces since they vary in porosity and density and would not streak or leave fingerprints.

“When you hear how they got started, you’ll completely understand why Granite Gold® is the only brand of stone care and maintenance products I would ever recommend for use by Explore Granite & Quartz clients.”
- Jason Kidwell

What Makes Granite Gold® Unique

Now, me, as an entrepreneur, when I read this part of their story, I couldn’t believe it. But there they were, serving their customers first. They’d mix up batch after batch of their secret formula, leaving it behind with customers in a bottle marked “cleaner” and “polish” for them to use on their newly installed or refurbished granite or other types of natural stone.

As you might guess, since the solutions worked so well, word got out. First, customers started asking for more of their miracle formula and then others started looking for this fantastic cleaning and polishing solution for granite and other stone surfaces. In 2003, they launched the Granite Gold® brand and began consumer outreach.

Since hard work was nothing new to them, they started small and hands-on with local distribution in the San Diego market, where they’d built a reputation as stone care experts. Soon, they were traveling, demonstrating their products in Costco stores and various regional home and garden shows. In 2005, they launched a consumer awareness campaign about the negative effects of common household cleaners have on granite and other natural stone— skyrocketing demand.

Today, the premium Granite Gold® brand stone-care products are available internationally in big box, mass merchant, grocery, hardware, eCommerce and specialty store channels.

With the success, Granite Gold® has built a reputation for excellence in the care and maintenance of all stone surfaces. So, the cousins have put their expertise to good use developing products for use on all your stone surfaces.

I can’t imagine Explore Granite & Quartz will ever need to recommend another stone care product, but if we do, the Lennys at Granite Gold® have probably got one in the works. It’s another product I’d be proud to sell to my parents, so I’m 100% confident in recommending it to you for the cleaning and maintenance of any Explore Granite stone countertop.

Check out the complete product line at GraniteGold.com.