Caesar Augustus said: “I found a city of bricks and left it a city of marble.”
In the world of luxury flooring one thing is true: elegance and tradition never go out of style. This is the mind-set behind Quarries Direct International (QDI) Surfaces in Dallas. Founded in the late ’90s by Arif Surmen, QDI specializes in travertine, limestone and marble flooring. Over the years they have built a unique reputation not just as a wholesaler of fine flooring but as a trusted advisor to architects, homebuilders and designers. QDI clients use the showroom as if it were their own. This level of trust comes from years of dedication and a true appreciation for a craft that was born out of a family tradition.
QDI’s hands-on approach is at the core of its business model. “We pay close attention to our clients’ needs in terms of selection, quality and budget. At the end of the day, helping them succeed in their business is what makes our business work,” Surmen says.
This attitude has been well received. For five years in a row the company has made it to the Inc. 5000 list of honorees. This is an honor Surmen doesn’t take lightly. “We are always striving to find new ways to improve,” he says.
One of the ways the company keeps improving is by seeking out new sources. Surmen travels extensively, from Turkey to Brazil, and he makes connections wherever he can.
As a direct importer and wholesaler, QDI supplies a wide variety of natural stone, porcelain tiles, pavers and more throughout the Southwestern United States. Quality control is so crucial to the QDI brand that Surmen opened an international office next to the quarries to oversee the mining process. This level of care about the product is matched by the QDI team stateside. With showrooms in Phoenix, Dallas, Los Angeles and two in Houston, the QDI team can ensure the prompt delivery of materials to keep projects on budget and on schedule. QDI also offers assistance to its clients in Austin and Louisiana through remote team members.
Asked about the future of his business, Surmen explains that it is rooted in the past. “Natural stone is a timeless building material that has been used generation after generation,” he says. “As the name implies, it is found in nature. No energy is needed to manufacture it, only to quarry and process it. Like a fine rug, it only becomes more beautiful with age. Whereas other materials degrade over time, natural stone retains a natural patina, which only enhances the look of the stone over the years.”
Originally from Turkey, Surmen earned a degree in business administration in Istanbul and a master’s degree in finance in Phoenix. After three years in the banking industry, he decided to return to the family business as a now thirdgeneration stone supplier. Surmen says: “There are many families that have been in this business for multiple generations. They live and work in small communities where stones are quarried. They are as much a part of history as the stones themselves. These communities have existed for hundreds of years. The families pass down their knowledge from generation to generation.”
Like these families, QDI has certainly forged a careful balance between the present and the past, but it also has a firm grasp on the future.
Rick Villa is a freelance writer based in Dallas.