TileLetter is the industry's leading tile magazine

Friday, June 14, 2024

The industry’s leading tile installation magazine

HomeContentOne-to-OneOne-to-One with Hunt Tool Company

One-to-One with Hunt Tool Company

Overcoming obstacles and building a family legacy

I met Brian Hunt about five years ago at Coverings. He was in the beginning stages of marketing his tile spacers to other contractors around the country. After briefly speaking to him, he shared some insight into the challenges he had faced in his personal life and how proud he was of his family despite the setbacks they had endured.  

About two years ago, his son Austyn Hunt came to the show and joined NTCA as a tile contractor. Since then, Austyn has obtained his CTEF Certified Tile Installer credential and in his spare time, he helps his dad promote his products to the trade.  

Austyn and Brian are genuinely good people and represent all that is wonderful about the tile industry. We are full of sole proprietorships, Mom and Pop stores, and grass roots level enterprises. I am honored to share their story with you in this edition of One-to-One. 

Brian and Austyn Hunt. Currently NTCA member Austyn is contracting and working in the family business, looking to transition to full time in the company in the coming years. 

How did Hunt Tool Company (hunttool.com) come to be?

Brian Hunt: I started in Southern California as a mud floater. At one point in my career, we suffered a family tragedy and I had to become a full-time father. That changed everything. Knowing I had limited resources in time and assets, I came up with new product ideas that would get my jobs done faster. After trying a few products that didn’t pan out, I came up with a spacer design that was better than horseshoe wedges in that they are half the size and five times more functional. When I get these into the hands of the tile installers in the field, they seem to really love them.  

How do people access your products, and what is different about your spacer wedges? Do you have other products you offer as well?

Brian Hunt: We have some distributors that are selling them, but you can order them on our website as well. Our Hunt Tile Spacer Wedge can be used to clean joints of thinset as you tile. Easily clip two together to make a perfect cross or T-Spacer for staggered patterns. The Hunt Tile Spacer Wedge has a built-in wedge and can be used as a lippage gauge. They are reusable and easy to clean with water.

We also have some really effective drying racks and tile tables for wetsaw cuts. One of the new products that is really popular is our Multipurpose Tile Square for large-format tile. Details are on our website. We recently purchased another company called Artisan Diamond Tools and we have these products at artisandiamondtool.com

Hunt Tool Company offers effective drying racks and tile tables for wetsaw cuts.

Austyn, how are you blending your contracting business with helping your dad market and promote the Hunt Tool Company Products as well?

Hunt Tile Spacer Wedges in action. This multipurpose tool can be used to clean joints of thinset as you tile. You can easily clip two together to make a perfect cross or T-Spacer for staggered patterns. There’s a built-in wedge that can be used as a lippage gauge as well. 

Austyn Hunt: As an installer, I use our product on my projects. I film and edit my installations to promote the products on social media and other outlets. I promote the Tile Square and the spacers on the videos I develop since I use them on my projects. I also am working on the website and marketing with our partner Ken Olschewske. We attend NTCA events and workshops and regional programs like MUD to meet the tile contractors. 

Brian Hunt: Austyn joined NTCA because of the knowledge he gained from attending your events. As a dad, watching Austyn take over the company and even do better than I ever did is very gratifying. Austyn is a sponge and takes in the information he learns from the tile contracting community he engages with. He is 24 years of age and is building a business and reputation in our market in Colorado. I am very proud of his accomplishments.  

Austyn Hunt: I told my dad when I was young I was not going to be a tile setter. I was a competitive swimmer and moved to California to enter a junior college in the hopes of getting a Division One scholarship. I was working three jobs to help pay for all of this. It wasn’t enough, so I started to take on tile installs to help support my swimming costs. I just couldn’t keep the pace, so I went back to Colorado where I had access to a professional network of industry people I had met. My business is thriving now, and I continue to develop my skills as a tile contractor. These same contacts have helped mentor me to grow and develop my business.  

Brian, you lost your wife when your children were young, and you had to play the role of dual parent and provider. How were you able to accomplish this and get to where you are today? 

Brian Hunt: I had to find ways to work smart. This is how I developed a lot of my product ideas. I would think of ways I could get the job done faster so I could get home to the kids. I have identified several new products to develop to add to our product line. My goal is to help Austyn transition from contracting to full time in the business in the next decade. I am proud of my family, and they have overcome a lot to get where they are today. I am committed to developing products that help my fellow tile contractors be more productive and efficient!

Bart Bettiga is the Executive Director of the National Tile Contractors Association. Bettiga is a member of the Board of Governors of Coverings, one the largest tradeshows in North America. He has over 30 years of experience in the tile and stone industry and has served as the NTCA Executive Director since 2002. He is a well known speaker and author on ceramic tile and natural stone distribution and installation. He oversees the financial operations of the NTCA, TileLetter and the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

- Advertisment -