October 2020

Beyond the Surface: How Rob Cavano and Charles Arriola took a leap of faith, building Coastal Countertops and Tile from the ground up.

Author: Barry Kaufman | Photographer: M.KAT Photography

3cm. Honed Calacatta Matarazzo Brazilian Quartzite with Full Height Backsplash and Farm Sink Cut-Out

If there is a single moment that defines the American spirit, it’s the moment in which someone decides to start their own business, fearlessly putting all their chips on the table and betting everything on themselves. It’s a moment of pure courage, and one whose stakes get even higher based on how much time one has already invested in climbing the corporate ladder.

For Rob Cavano and Charles Arriola, those stakes were extraordinary. Between the two of them, they represented 40 years in the stone and tile business. Over that time, they had established themselves as two of the most knowledgeable and trustworthy professionals in the Lowcountry.

Going out on their own was a calculated gamble, but each of them had an ace up their sleeve: each other.
“I wouldn’t have done this with anyone else … Rob was the first person I thought of,” Arriola said. “It always amazes me to see how he can just put people at ease. I swear he’s part psychiatrist.”

“Charles just loves to meet people, help them out on a project, get involved and learn about people. That’s just who Charles is,” Cavano said. “He’s just passionate about people.”

After decades working together, the pair had established a comfortable rapport with one another and a wide fanbase. That fanbase proved crucial to the creation of Coastal Countertops and Tile. Customers they’d come to know over the years were incredibly supportive, encouraging them at every turn to get out and start their own thing.

“If we didn’t hear that so many times, from so many influential people, it may not have come together,” Cavano said. “We had so many people invested in us.”

In hindsight, maybe it was never a gamble at all. When two talented people come together with trust, friendship and decades of expertise, and a whole community rises up to support them, that’s the definition of playing with a stacked deck.

“I don’t believe in luck,” Arriola said. “I believe in making things happen.”

Making things happen
Starting out on their own meant reinventing the industry as they knew it. Both had been taking notes for years, finding areas ripe for innovation and envisioning a better way to offer the utmost in service and products. With Coastal Countertops and Tile, they had an opportunity to put those notes into action.

“The last thing we wanted to be was good, but not as good,” Cavano said. “Really what we did was look around and ask, ‘What are the best machines and who are the best people?’”

The technology was a huge driver, and something that the pair knew would be a huge differentiating factor for their budding business. Up first was a five-axis CNC saw, shipped from France and representative of the bleeding edge of technology in the stone industry.

We won’t attempt to do a deep dive into the technical aspects of it, but suffice to say the saw, combined with an incremental bit and the precise digital measurements of a Proliner, lets Coastal Countertops and Tile work incredible magic in your kitchen and bath.

“It’s a game-changer,” Cavano said. The technology allows for flawlessly precise cuts accurate to the last millimeter, resulting in beautiful countertops that fit perfectly with your space and hardware, plus letting clients see digitally how the end result will look. “If you show up with sticks and glue, this tells the client that everything is going to be rough cut and the installation will take more work. When we show up with the Proliner, they see that we have made that investment in doing it right.”

The second part of their magic equation for success, finding the right people, required the same dedication to getting it right. “We recruited people who all have at least 20 years of experience in the industry and that includes templating with the Proliner,” Cavano said. But it wasn’t just experience they were seeking. It was also the right mindset. “Nothing gets done with efficiency unless you have the right attitude. I can’t say enough about that. We’re small, but everyone has the perfect attitude.”

Attitude, as they say, is everything. “Work hard, do the right thing. That’s what we get really excited about,” Arriola said. “Rob and I like to make it fun. We just know there is a place for the good guys to succeed.”

If you ask any of their clients, or any of the legion of building professionals, homeowners and friends over the years who urged them to take the leap and bet on themselves, they’ll tell you the same thing. The good guys, in the form of Coastal Countertops and Tile, have plenty of room to succeed. With a foundation built on the fundamentals of the best technology and people, these guys are just getting started.
You can bet on it.

Coastal Countertops and Tile is located at 40 Persimmon St., Suite 101, in Bluffton. For more information, call (843) 707-6644.

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