(978) 750-6650 showroom@tilebydesign.com
Joe Render

Joe Renda – Owner

Daniel Burnham said, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.”

“We weren’t constructing the Flatiron Building or anything that grandiose, but it was a big deal to us. We didn’t have much experience in running a business, but we came up with a great name and couldn’t just waste it.”

Thus, August, 1988, Tile By Design opened for business on 10 Sylvan Street in Peabody, MA.

Neighbor and early mentor, Ernie Tremblay, Sr. {Vic’s Drive-in fame}, visited often to say hello and provide words of encouragement. Perhaps, the most profound impact was courtesy of this one sentence: “You can always do better, and do more, and find something worthwhile, with what you already have.”

“Ernie always said something good right before he walked away. The man knew how to exit a building. And that advice resonated with us in a big way. We were constantly painting walls different colors, moving displays around, building new ones, adding banners, tiling floors, changing the side of the building. It became a restless obsession that continues to this day.”

“We grew out of the Sylvan Street location pretty fast. I loved our little store and our neighbors – Betty and Jim from Prim Cleaners and Stan at Bagel World – but there wasn’t a square inch of space left in the store. We were eating lunch on bags of grout and cement.”

“In 1965 Nina Simone sang, “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feeling good” and that’s exactly how we felt after the move from Sylvan Street to Andover Street. We gained a kitchen, two bathrooms, multiple offices, an indoor warehouse with a loading dock! We installed an overhead paging system. No more running across the parking lot in torrential rain, screaming that someone had a phone call.”

If asked what’s his favorite part of owning Tile By Design?

“I love talking with people, getting to know them, helping sort out what they’re looking for. If somebody tells you they love the color blue and you say, “I know! I do too!” you’re only going to keep learning what you like, but if you ask them, “What do you love about the color blue?”, you’re going to learn what’s important to them, and why.”

“To stay busy, have a purpose, and feel like I’m doing something meaningful. I enjoy the daily challenges and love a big project that I can dive into. It’s rewarding to build lasting relationships with our suppliers, drivers, sales reps, but most gratifying of all, with my customers and my employees. I am honored and thankful every day.”

what was your first job
Danvers Best Western Hotel; Cleaned the Discotheque & Kitchen on Saturday & Sunday mornings, at age 12

what do you like to do outside of work
Make a racket on guitar, read all the novels, coffee, waffles and world briefings with Kate, talk about how smart and talented Zack was

who would you pick to play you in a movie of your life
Aziz Ansari

what would be the title of the movie of your life
Nonplussed

who is the most interesting person you know 
My mother-in-law, Catherine Stanton. A poet, artist, baker, professional violinist, book collector, voracious reader, pianist, jazz lover, music teacher, crossword puzzle expert, animal lover, activist, feminist. She’s truly remarkable.

what are your hidden talents 
I’m confident I could start an IV drip, in the dark, on a carousel, with both hands tied behind my back

best decision you ever made
Marrying my wife Kate, buying a telecaster, establishing sonSop

what’s the worst advice you’ve received 
I’m highly impressionable so there’s a long list. A few: shave up, learn bar chords, the truth is almost always better

morning person or night owl
Night owl but I like what happens when I get up really, really early

who was your idol growing up
Bob Kane’s Batman, both the comics and the tv show starring Adam West. KER-SPLOOSH! ZLOPP! BAM! CRRAACK! 

your favorite artists {musician, painter, writer}
Lennon, Bowie, Wilco, Springsteen, B.B. King, Allman Brothers, Coltrane, Lucinda Williams. Remedios Varo, Miró, Rothko. Chabon, Morrison, Pynchon.

what was the last book you read
Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder by Lawrence Weschler

what’s the last gift you gave 
A ‘Sound Investment Records’ T-shirt {my friend Paul’s record label}

happiest childhood memory
My father taking us to the movies. We would always arrive in the middle of the movie. Then after the movie ended, and the theater cleared out, we’d remain in our seats to watch from the beginning. Then leave in the middle where we came in. It was the only way we saw movies until I was old enough to drive myself.

if you were in charge what would you make a law 
Everyone must read, The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois

reveal an early inspiration
My father. His highly embellished stories, incredible cooking, our projects together. He was in hospice and unconscious three weeks before I was married. It was a real difficult time for my family, but he woke up, made a full recovery and was there on my wedding day.

where’s your favorite place to eat
Diner counters and being close to the pies. Or good, almost healthy, salty pub food.

what is the one thing you must have in your refrigerator 
The little light bulb

who famous would you like to have dinner with past or present
If the wayback machine is running, Mel Brooks or Toni Morrison or John Lennon. If not, then a modern renaissance man like Harry Shearer or George Saunders.

would you rather sing everything or lose the ability to speak?
If I sang everything, I would be extremely unpopular. To the delight of many, I would choose Post-it Notes.

something about yourself that people would be surprised to know
I have an extremely rare genetic disease called Cystic Fibrosis. And have never watched a single minute of ‘Game of Thrones’. Possibly unrelated.

Joe-Renda