Wots and wots of tile treasure

World of Tile closeoutI went again yesterday. 350 miles round trip, my third. If you look up the word “mania” in the retro-dictionary, this about defines it.

Still open as of yesterday. Definitely lots of stuff gone. But still some treasures to be found. Above: One of my new WOT BFFs, Jonathan O’Hea of American Bloomsbury Antiques, who has been there more days than me, but not as many as Ellen. He is in the way bottom basement, I am shooting the photo from a loading dock area above. We estimated ceilings in the basement are 30-35 feet high; maybe… what?… 5,000 s.f. footprint? Mego. And tile was/is packed to the ceiling everywhere. Tip: CLICK on the photo and it will double in size on-screen.

Nothing else getting done in my life but WOT-mania, including “organizing” my WOT treasures once I get them home.

Thanks, Jay, for the wots and wots idea. 🙂

UPDATE on hours: They keep saying it’s the last day, then they keep extending. Here is the office phone for the liquidators, call for updates: 973-672-2777.

Read all our World of Tile stories here. 

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Comments

  1. midmichigan says

    I love places like that. Scrapyards, closeouts, etc. I wish I lived closer. You must be having a blast, Pam! It is labor intensive and exhausting so be careful in your travels. Great pic of J on the pallet jack.

  2. linda h says

    All this talk of tile makes me want to put a clear window on one of my Christmas putz houses with a tile (little colored marker squares on a piece of card stock?) accent wall opposite the window with a Christmas tree in front of it.

  3. Robin, NV says

    The size of that basement is blowing my mind. Was the property built especially for WOT? That’s a lot of work and expense to build a basement that big.

    Maybe it makes me weird but I’m often more fascinated by the buildings that house museums/stores/businesses than the things they house. The history/backstory of buildings fascinate me. Like the 1920s mortuary turned beauty salon in my town. Irony anyone?

    • Katie B. says

      My mom’s cousin works at a mortuary and does the makeup on dead people. She also used to drive an old hearse as her daily driver. I’m sure she would love that place. 🙂

      • Robin, NV says

        It’s a neat old building – very Spanish Revival a la 1920s. The interior has been remodeled extensively but the big old- fashioned sliding doors in the back remind you of its original purpose.

        My grandmother went to beauty school and got her first job at a mortuary! That was in the 1930s.

    • Jay says

      Robin, I’m with you on the fascination with the buildings themselves. The exterior of WOT gives no clue to what lies beneith. I suspect that because there were a lot of goods that were imported that storage space was needed to hold the stock since you couldn’t just call up a local distributer and order a few cases of tile.

    • Diane in CO says

      I agree, Robin. In Denver we have a landmark mortuary, Olinger, which is now a very trendy (and good) restaurant. Called “Linger.” And we have a fabulous Western art collection downtown housed in the Navarre Building, formerly a brothel. Repurposing is good!

  4. Cynthia says

    Pam, I hope you will get some rest after your herculean efforts at WOT! Wow, a basement 30 ft deep! We can’t have basements at all where I live, so it’s hard to imagine that! Too bad they had to leave so much of the vintage there, when they planned to relocate. I think their new location is in another part of NJ. There must be some deeper facts behind the seemingly sudden departure of WOT from its longtime location.

    • Bob Connor says

      One reason for the closure may have been brought up by their accountant: Just the tile that I have seen on this blog is a lot of capital tied up in inventory. Probably so much there was not enough “liquid” money to pay the ongoing bills. Depending on how much WOT paid for the tile in the first place versus how long its been there (inflation would help here) hopefully, the owners will break even with this liquidation as well as with the sale of the property. With this “fresh start” the new World of Tile will be a much smaller world, and they will order what they need to get and will be a much more “efficient” business. I’m not a CPA but I did learn something in all those accounting classes.

      • Cynthia says

        Bob, yes, in addition to having capital tied up, perhaps they had to pay big tangible personal property tax on the huge inventory stacked 6 fathoms deep in that cavernous basement. Much as we loved WOT as a source of a mind-boggling half-century accumulation of NOS tile (etc) it’s likely not a lucrative business model. Its owners need to keep the lights on, pay staff and make a living. Can this be done a few vintage tiles at a time? Same is true of the other NOS inventories in liquidation that we’ve read about on RR – like the lighting store with a huge stock of fixtures dating back to the 50s, for example. These stores developed into living time capsules but those of us who appreciate and want to buy the products of that era are a tiny minority of the consuming public, although Pam, Kate and RR have opened the eyes of many (including me). It’s sad but we should buy from shopkeepers such as WOT as often as we can, while we can.

        • Bob Connor says

          It would have helped a WOT if the accountants had told the owners to try to sell off some of the inventory earlier, like for a whole year, (maybe online, maybe sell the existing stock for a discount) before it had to come to this and there could have been cash flow as people like us bought it, but it was probably the sale of the property to the Nissan dealer that caused this “crisis”. Now the sale is over (that is what the other thread says) and the dealer probably wants to start building.

          Now, most car dealers are on 1 level. What will they do with a 30 feet deep basement? Perhaps bury the remaining tiles in it, cover it with dirt? Then 30 years from now, when the dealer moves, retro renovators will come and dig them up? Why not, it worked when a film maker tried to get the ET game cartridges Atari buried 30 years ago.

  5. Jay says

    3 trips! speechless. I must say, you had one great surgeon for a fast recovery but please, take it easy – the healing continues for some time.

  6. Diane in CO says

    Pam, what are you going to do with all your tile? (I must have missed something…) I read you need tile for your kitchen but do you have other projects in mind?

  7. Janet in ME says

    Pam, you certainly are a glutton for punishment! That’s ALOT of tile. What on earth do you drive? I brought home a lot of books once that my sister-in-law was going to toss and Phil was furious with me because the car was riding on the springs, it was so overloaded!

  8. Robin says

    Hi there,

    I spoke with the liquidator this evening. They said as of today, no one is allowed in- and that people were being turned away.
    I asked them to ask the new owner to wait while I contacted a salvage company here in NYC. I reasoned that demo and carting will cost them an incredible amount that they should just let someone come and remove it for them. I emailed my friend in hopes he will go for it.

    The liquidators did ring me back to see the results and asked me to ring again tomorrow. Hope that means something good.

    In the meanwhile if anyone got some of the metal/brass furniture legs… please post your info. I’m in need if a quantity.

    I wish I had a way to get over there. Hubby’s travelling for work. I fear I’m going to miss it all.

    Pam, if this salvage delay plan works… you’ll be a retro hero.

    • pam kueber says

      Thank you, Robin. I think that all the furniture legs were sold years ago….someone came in, after we first wrote about World of Tile, and scooped them up.

      If you friend goes for it — I am sure there are still lots of tile in there that we would all love to buy!

  9. Chris says

    My husband and I went there two weeks ago looking for replacement pink tile (which we found!) Not only was the basement and its various rooms huge, but we found our way to the top floor and there were pink bathrooms and a couple stoves still in the boxes. There was a gas stove with a tiled front that I would like to have seen more of. There were rooms that looked like they were used for personal storage; my husband saw a potting room, I saw a stack of new Christmas tree stands… wow!

  10. Anna Deleo says

    I need 1″vintage tiles. I have a sample. Can you tell me where to send it to see if Chippy can find it?

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