“Old World Craftmanship”
Established in 1997 Gurri Design+Remodel began working with major manufacturing tile and stone showrooms. The company’s founder, Sami Kelmendi’s very first job was working for the Ann Sacks Tile & Stone showroom where he became a preferred tile contractor working in NYC Metro area apartments and townhouses. The old pre-war buildings had a familiar feeling to the ones of Sami’s old-world village in Albania, where he grew up. Sami was always handy and would fix things for his family home as well as for his village neighbors.
As Kelmendi ventured out, expanding his business, working with other prominent manufacturer showrooms, word-of-mouth about his creative design and expert craftsmanship got around. There were a lot of challenges working with the showrooms’ constantly changing product lines. But this is what Sami found enjoyable, the challenges learning about new products coming into the marketplace–it was exciting, a sentiment that he brings to his work today.
As he expanded working for other prestigious architectural stone and tile showroom clients people began recommending him for full kitchen, bath design and remodeling jobs that eventually lead into full apartment and brownstone renovations.
Sami Kelmendi immigrated to the United States from Albania, with a degree in business in 1994. He left his homeland because of a lack of work opportunities due to an unstable economic situation that lead to the Albanian ‘diaspora.’ Sami’s first job in the USA was apprenticing for an old world craftsmen, an American who was also an immigrant–he taught Sami the art of tiling and stone design:
“He was a perfectionist and incredibly particular, I never met anyone like him, everything so precise. He would show up exactly the same time each day and expected us to be ready to work. He taught me how important it was to take pride in my work, how to be precise in everything including to always be on time. This was how I learned and fell in love with the design, stone and tile business.” Sami continues, “He was my mentor, I’ll never forget him and to this day use what he taught me every day!”
With a wife expecting their first child at his side, they began their journey building-up the Gurri business to its current popularity today.