To the average person, Tornillo, Sapelle, Marupa and Ipe might seem like the names European soccer players. However, they are actually the names of art materials to Frank Diaz, owner of Buena Vista Flooring.
“When you’re working with wood, stain, colours and custom designs, you can do anything. When the job is done, we take pride in what we do. In the end, it’s like a piece of art.”
Diaz knew he loved to work with his hands and immediately took summer jobs as a workman laying down hardwood floors when he immigrated to Canada in 1989.
Originally from Havana, Cuba, Diaz travelled to Europe to study mechanical engineering. When he moved to Ottawa, he continued his studies and earned a diploma in mechanical engineering technology from Algonquin College.
After a few years of subcontracting for large companies, he opened Buena Vista Flooring in 1992.
“I learned all about this business here in Canada. I got to know a lot of people in the business in the Ottawa region,” he says. “At that time I got offered jobs from what I was studying, but I decided to keep working in the flooring business.”
However, connections only got Diaz and his company so far. He still faced the challenges any new company does when trying to break into the industry.
“It was hard to get into the market at the beginning,” he says. “At first, you are very small in comparison to other companies. But we have the quality and that’s how we did it.”
Buena Vista came out of Diaz’s desire to add elegance and luxury to people’s homes. The company has worked on Minto Group Inc. custom homes, construction projects and with custom homebuilders. Diaz says custom work allows for true talent to shine through.
The Buena Vista team works with a wide selection of products, both local and exotic. The selection of exotic hardwood flooring from the forests of Peru is one of the biggest in the Ottawa area. Cork, Peruvian Cherry and Cumaru are just some of the options clients.
Diaz prides himself on showcasing these beautiful products by ensuring they are of great quality.
“We only deal with high-end manufacturers and products,” he says. “A lot of companies out there are doing this, but not a lot offer what we have.”
Great service, as well as quality are important to the Buena Vista team. Diaz says it is what separates his company from many of the big stores.
“The only way you can compete with the giants here is to offer something different like quality products and quality workmanship. Otherwise, if you offer the same that they offer, you will be out of business.”
Buena Vista has a high understanding of all of the materials they offer and share these facts with their customers.
Diaz must run a tight ship to keep the company’s competitive edge. Everyone who works for the company is a known industry professional.
“We have experience and many years in the market,” he says. “We have guys that have been with us for a long time. We’ve been together for five or six years.”
If Diaz and his team cannot find what a client is looking for, chances are he knows someone who can.
Over the past 20 plus years of business, Diaz says he has worked with some amazing clients and on some beautiful projects. “We did a $25 million house five or six years ago which was amazing to work on,” he says. “We also worked on Corel’s Michael Cowpland’s house in Rockcliffe Park.”
At the end of each day, Diaz is grateful knowing he chose to follow his passion and work with his hands.
“There are too many things I like about my job to pick a favourite,” he says. “We work on a different project almost every day. It keeps it new and interesting.”