From Romeo to Julietta
Fort McMurray has a unique, somewhat-Shakespearean aspect of its own found in the story of retired entrepreneur Romeo with his daughter and business owner Julieta.
It all started 20 years ago when skilled tradesmen Romeo Miranda brought his family to Canada, as refugees from El Salvador. First settling in Edmonton, Miranda found his way to Fort McMurray to start what is now an established, residential and commercial interior design company, known as Romeo’s Flooring & Stone.
The company is popular for its design installations found inside the Fort McMurray Oil Barons Dream Homes for the past five years. They’ve also been a leading force in wildfire rebuilding philanthropy by raising $15,000 for the United Way of Fort McMurray in December.
Today, Romeo Flooring & Stone celebrates two decades of business in the Fort McMurray community. Ranger reminisces back on the days her father first opened his flooring shop downtown.
“My father was a tile setter, not a businessman,” explains Ranger. “He believed in building personal relationships with clients and delivering an installation that his clients would be proud of.”
During her middle school days, Ranger spent her weekends delivering flyers to local residents. She remembers carrying boxes of tiles from her dad’s truck to take them up three-storey buildings into the unit he was working in. Some of her favourite memories of the start-up were watching him create integrate designs out of tile in government buildings.
It was Miranda’s work with his loyal clients and trust from his family that brought him to open a flooring shop of his own.
“I called him an artist,” Ranger said. “Truth be told, it was his clients that encouraged him to open his own store. With the support of my mother who believed in him, Romeo’s Tile Showroom opened in the River City Plaza 2. Exactly twelve years ago, my husband Kelly Ranger and I retired my parents and started the next phase of the company.”
The takeover included moving from a tile and stone store to a complete flooring company. Seven years following, the Rangers evolved the company to specialize in all aspects of residential and commercial interior design by offering natural stone countertops, area rugs and blinds.
After the wildfire, Ranger explains there has been an expected influx in business. She had experienced rapid building growth in the past due to the oil sands economy but said this time was different. She explained “it’s more personal” and feels helpful to be able to work with residents to give them the rebuild and renovation design of their dreams.
“Business has been booming, as you can imagine. What’s very unique to this boom from the others is that many of our customers are new to the building process. This requires more attention to the customers needs and wants, more empathy during the decision-making process and ultimately a customized experience for our customers,” Ranger said. “I think I cried through my first 20 house designs post-fire. Every story was different from one another and I felt honoured that people would share them with me.”
In January 2018, Romeo’s moved from its downtown location to a new space in Gregoire. This new location offers a larger warehouse and a one-of-a-kind showroom to help customers design their dream rebuilds and renovations.
The Rangers hope to bring even more options to their clients and they are celebrating the company’s 20-year milestone with a community grand reopening, which is set to take place from May 7 to May 12.
“We believe we have the very best talent in interior design, space planning and service. We are extremely proud of our team and excited to show off our brand-new showroom to the public,” she said. “You just have to walk-in and see for yourself. It’s beautiful, bright, spacious and well laid-out. Our clients will see, right away, the quality and skill we have just by its presentation.”
With the new location and additions, Ranger said she owes a lot of the company’s continued success to her greatest role model in life. It was her father who taught her that “hard work pays off, that relationships are invaluable to business, that the more you know, the more valuable you become, but most importantly, never give up.”
As for the next 20 years, Ranger said she’s proud to call Fort McMurray home and believes the future of the family business is promising.
“I am very proud to be a part of such a tight-knit community. It has been an amazing adventure. We have grown alongside our city and we are proud to offer Fort McMurray the very best in products, services and design,” she said.
“It is an honour and a privilege to have preserved the highs and lows that we have all lived through. I just know that the first 20 years have been more than I could have ever imaged and the next 20 will be even better.”
Romeo’s Flooring & Stone specializes in tile, hardwood, engineered hardwood, luxury vinyl plank/tile, carpet, stone countertops in granite/quartz, and blinds. To learn more, visit www.romeosflooring.com or best, drop in at 235 MacAlpine Crescent in Gregoire. For further inquiries, call 780-743-9497 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Romeo Miranda in August 1987. This photo was taken in Edmonton during the same month he and his family immigrated to Canada. Supplied Photo
Juileta and Kelly Ranger at their new location of Romeo’s Flooring & Stone at 235 MacAlpine Crescent. The community grand reopening will take place from May 7 to May 12. Photo by Dawn Booth.