June 2017

Savannah Surfaces: Laying It Down Beautifully

Author: Kitty Bartell | Photographer: John McManus

It all began with an employee, a forklift, and a trailer. “It was 20 years ago, and we only had a trailer and a walled-in parking lot, selling a few pots and plants,” said William Rhangos of the business he and brother Jonathan Rhangos have taken from their humble Savannah Hardscapes site, to their burgeoning Savannah Surfaces headquarters, now located in Hardeeville, South Carolina, where they have become known as a premier provider of interior and exterior surfacing materials. “Back then, we took on the building across the street,” he said. “We were in the outdoor furniture business at that point—a kind of a high-end outdoor-themed home goods store. At the time, we primarily sold stone. We did fireplaces, and walkways, and decks—all hardscape projects.”

By 2001 the brothers found their services in demand on both sides of the river. Outgrowing their downtown Savannah location, and working with clients from Hilton Head Island, Beaufort, Bluffton, and the entire metro Savannah area, they purchased property to accommodate their growth. “This is a three-acre site, and we needed every bit of it,” Rhangos said. “If we were going to be in one location, and if we were going to do the retail component of selling outdoor materials and indoor materials, we were going to have to be in a central location.”

The business finished build-out in 2003, transforming their customer experience. “We’re central to everything and close to nothing,” Rhangos said. “To make up for that, we had to give customers a reason to come see us. We’re bigger, and we’re better. If you want to see an Atlanta-like showroom, this is where you come to do it; there’s nothing on the island like this, and there’s nothing in Savannah like this.”

Local interior designer Kelly Caron of Kelly Caron Designs in Bluffton, agreed. “I don’t think there is anywhere else I would want to travel.” You can find everything there, in my opinion. They are where I take a client when I know the client has hired me to make their house more unique than any other home around them.”

Driving into the car park, customers get their first taste of the beautiful surfaces and creative work being done at Savannah Surfaces. “By the time they park, they realize they’ve never seen a place before that shows ten-foot by ten-foot samples of so many different types of stone and pavers in the parking area and all around it,” Rhangos said. “We’ve been associated with these outdoor materials longer than we have this [indicating their dazzling indoor showroom]. We really only got into tile about five or six years ago.”

And it is their indoor showroom that takes customers to another level of “wow.” Sourcing products from a wide range of vendors, tile, stone, mosaic, fixture, and fireplace styles are options, and pricing is suitable for any taste and budget. A team of professionals is always on hand, and customers are encouraged to consult with them. “You need the advice of our sales people who know how to pull all this together. It’s not easy, and I think a lot of people, whether it’s their first house or their tenth, when they get into really doing a house with the master bath they’ve always wanted, or doing a really great kitchen, find out there are a lot more details than they thought—a lot of areas to stumble on.”

On the recommendation of their contractor, RCB Contracting, Moss Creek homeowners Loretta and Ian Russell worked with one of Savannah Surfaces’ designers on their master bathroom renovation. “Our house was built in the ’80s, so the whole master bath was tiled floor to ceiling with marble tile. It was just kind of outdated. I had never heard of them [Savannah Surfaces]. I ordered all my tile, all my bath fixtures, everything was through them. The process was great. Everything was ordered; everything came in when it was supposed to come in. It took five days for my tile to come in, and as soon as it was in, it got delivered. I would definitely would recommend them, and their prices are very comparable to all the other places I looked,” Loretta said.

With vendors ranging from luxury brands like Tabarka Studio, New Ravenna Mosaics, and Pratt & Larson Tile, to more moderately positioned suppliers like AKDO, Original Style, and The Winchester Tile Company, to ADEX USA and Soho Studio for the basics, Savannah Surfaces gives their customers an anything-is-possible attitude. “What we focus on, in terms of providing the most comprehensive showroom in our area, is giving people the largest number of choices at their price point,” Rhangos said. “Your eye is typically drawn to the more glitzy or colorful things. When somebody comes in with a budget, we can show them multiple things within that budget.”

Whether it is style or budget, Caron believes the relationships Savannah Surfaces has formed with their vendors to be the secret sauce to their success. “They are very knowledgeable. They go to shows, and are good about telling me, as a designer, when they have a new product, and letting me know they would like to tell me about it. My clients are spending a lot of money in there, and they’re trusting me. So, for me to trust Savannah Surfaces is huge. I know we’re going to get an outstanding outcome.”

There is so much to see, feel, and experience at Savannah Surfaces. They have come a long way since that original forklift and tiny lot location in downtown Savannah. What has not changed is a commitment to creativity and customer care on a level that inspires outstanding outcomes, and inspires a level of trust, knowing that when the floor is laid, and the tiles are set, and fixtures are put into position, the result will be exactly what is expected, and a whole lot more.

Savannah Surfaces is located at 64 McDowell Circle, Hardeeville. For more information, please visit savannahsurfaces.com or call (843) 784-6060.

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