[caption id="attachment_210478" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Bath, Kitchen & Tile Center in Harbeson is looking to expand out of its space in Southern Delaware. | DBT PHOTO COURTESY OF GOOGLE MAPS[/caption]
HARBESON — A regional kitchen and bathroom supplier has bought land next door to its Harbeson store, signaling that it’s ready to explore expanding its presence in Sussex County.Bath, Kitchen & Tile Center President Richard Campbell bought the 6 acres adjacent to Harbeson Business Park on Route 9 for $1.7 million, according to Sussex County land records. The property was sold by Charles and Elva Davidson, records show.With the race to build houses for the booming population of retirees looking to enjoy Delaware’s beaches and tax structure, Campbell said it’s triggered a need to expand the business showroom. The Bath, Kitchen & Tile Center also contracts with major homebuilders in the state, and Sussex County has become one of their strongest markets.“There’s a high demand for our countertops and cabinets in both New Castle and Sussex counties, but we’re seeing continued success in Sussex County with homebuilders and remodelers,” Campbell told Delaware Business Times. “Sussex has been steady with constant home building over the last decade, but it’s really been on the uptick for the last two years.”The new property was bought to give the Bath, Kitchen & Tile Center more room for inventory and staff as well as greater visibility from Route 9. The existing 2,000-square-foot showroom was leased out in Harbeson Business Park around 2000. Right now, the company is working with designers to determine the best use of the new space and whether it would still need to lease space out of the business park.The Bath, Kitchen & Tile Company has about 80 full-time employees across four offices, and 10 employees in the Harbeson Business Park location. More staff may be added, but Campbell said it is too soon to determine staff numbers.Founded in 1963 out of a small warehouse in Wilmington, the Bath, Kitchen & Tile Center has grown over the past 58 years to Newark, Harbeson as well as an office in Bel Air, Md. The company, which was first started by Pauline and Jack Campbell, sold kitchen cabinets and tiles to homeowners and builders.Now the company also offers countertops, vanities, plumbing fixtures, whirlpool tubs and other appliances and serves Maryland, southern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Three generations of Campbells helped expand it into a regional success, and the company remains in the hands of Richard, the grandson of Pauline and Jack Campbell.