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October 6, 2017 | last updated October 9, 2017 5:57 pm

From kiosk to showroom: Scarborough remodeling business makes leap to Route 1 visibility

Courtesy / Ryan Cheplic
Courtesy / Ryan Cheplic
Ryan Cheplic, owner of Harbor Heights Tile & Granite LLC, proudly displays huge slabs of granite at his new showroom at 326 U.S. Route 1 in Scarborough. Cheplic purchased the property from Malina LLC for $187,000 in a deal that closed July 18.

SCARBOROUGH — Ryan Cheplic, owner of Harbor Heights Tile & Granite LLC, was pretty specific about what he wanted when he decided to open a showroom for his remodeling business.

He previously operated out of his truck, with his only retail presence being two kiosks in the Maine Mall. With a new site, the Scarborough businessman wanted a showroom to be in Scarborough and he wanted it to be visible.

That's what he found in the 1,140-square-foot mixed-use building, on 0.59 acre, at 326 U.S. Route 1 in Scarborough. Cheplic purchased the property from Malina LLC for $187,000 in a deal that closed July 18. Jonathan Rizzo of CBRE | The Boulos Co. representing Cheplic, and Andrew Ingalls of Malone Commercial Brokers, representing the seller, brokered the sale.

"There's a lot traffic on Route 1 going by that building," said Rizzo. "It's across from Scarborough Downs and you have people coming and going both ways, commuting into Portland and hopping onto 295 or 95."

Cheplic has been in the remodeling business since 1997, and narrowed his scope to kitchen and bathroom remodeling in the last six years. Demand has been particularly high for tile showers and granite countertops. He sources his granite from suppliers worldwide, with most coming from India and Brazil.

History of high growth, low overhead

Courtesy / Ryan Cheplic
Courtesy / Ryan Cheplic
Ryan Cheplic renovated 326 U.S. Route 1 in Scarborough to become a showroom for his company, Harbor Heights Tile & Granite LLC.

He's operated out of his truck since starting the company. He began offering a retail presence at two Maine Mall kiosks a year-and-a-half ago.

"That gives me a place where customers can stop and look at granite and tile," he said of the kiosks.

The truck and kiosks — and word-of-mouth, brochures and reputation — have worked well enough for reaching customers to date, and his business has experienced significant growth, doubling over the last two years. That encouraged him to expand further, so about a year ago, he decided to look for showroom space.

"Ideally, I wanted something in Scarborough, because this area needs something like this," he said.

The property was formerly a single-family home built in 1928 that was converted to commercial use by a company called Rand Stoneworks, which had its offices there. Cheplic completely remodeled the interior, converting the divided space into an open showroom and installing architectural details like old-fashioned barn beams, as well as new, retail-style doors and windows. He's showcasing big slabs of granite on the front lawn.

"Our good reputation has taken us far," he said. "But now with an actual showroom, we'll be able to grow and to display more materials, especially slabs."

Currently employing four, he expects his new visibility will allow him to expand. Most customers are in southern Maine but he'll travel wherever he's needed, he said.

"A lot of our customers who are further away are people who can't find anyone in their area to help them, or they've had other contractors bail on them," he said. "We won't turn any job away."

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