After 73 years in business, Century Tile, an iconic Chicago area flooring retailer, is permanently closing. The enterprise became one of the largest floor covering retailers and distributors in the Midwest.
Century Tile was founded in 1947 by Frank Parks and Paul Spiewak, who met in college. Parks was 19 years old when they registered the name, Century Supply Co., with Cook County. Spiewak was 20.
In the years following the start up of the pair’s first store on Austin Avenue, more locations were added until eventually 12 retail warehouses carried the Century Tile name.
Part of its success, the flooring retailer was not afraid to innovate. In the 1950s, the store said it was one of the first to hold evening hours so a husband and wife could both choose home décor together. The company was also known for its annual tent sales that would roll from store to store, drawing thousands from miles around.
Along with building a large and profitable business, the two founders made sure their families were successful, too. Spiewak’s daughter, Kathy, who worked as a bookkeeper in one of the stores, met a young warehouse employee named John Boyle. The two were later married, had five children and managed the store operations until their recent retirement. Parks and Spiewak also encouraged their employees to get to know each other and would hold summer celebrations at a local park for workers’ families, according to the company.
Over the years, Century Tile shared its success with the communities in which they were located. Cash, materials and contributions supported Habitat for Humanity, area parks, schools, churches, shelters and other charitable organizations, the company said.
Century’s remaining four locations are closing at the end of April. Surplus Asset Management will sell all inventory, store fixtures and equipment in a sale that begins April 26 at all locations.