The 2023 Cleveland Italian American Heritage Month Honoree for Business is Petitti Garden Centers, founded by Angelo Petitti, Sr.

Oct 01, 2023 822

Angelo Petitti immigrated to the United States in 1963 at age 16 from Faeto, a small mountain village with a population of 600 in southeast Italy. For 3 years, he worked at Pick-n-Pay Supermarket and as a busboy to support himself while attending Kent State University night classes to study political science. Angelo also leveraged his innate sense of the land to do part-time landscaping and, eventually, his interest in horticulture became his full-time passion.

In 1966, Angelo started Petitti Landscape Company. His brother, Domenico, joined him and they bought an oversized garage in 1969 in Oakwood Village to store their trucks, landscape equipment, and plant material. Soon, passersby began to visit, inquiring about the plants, and the brothers found themselves a complementary business.

On the site of the old garage, Angelo Petitti opened the first Petitti Garden Center building on Thursday, April 15, 1971 in Oakwood Village, and a Northeast Ohio tradition was born.
In 1975, Angelo married Maria, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1966 from the same small town. She became active in administration of the business and put her photography talents to work, using the plant photographs she snapped to create helpful plant signage for customers. Soon, A.J., Andria, and Lisa were born, and the business became a family affair.

In the 1980s, the business began expanding to include more locations. This is also when the Gardening with Angelo radio show hit the local airwaves with a goal of sharing knowledge to support gardeners’ success. Decades later, Angelo’s 1-hour radio show continues to broadcast on Saturday mornings from March-October on WTAM 1100. Listeners tune in for timely lawn & garden advice and to have their questions answered on-air.

Today, the business Angelo Petitti seeded in a small garage in Oakwood Village has blossomed into a beloved Northeast Ohio brand with 9 year-round locations serving the Greater Cleveland, Akron-Canton, and Youngstown communities. The brand aims to deliver the highest quality, best selection, most exceptional service, and the most beautiful garden shopping experience in Northeast Ohio. But to sum it up, as Angelo once said, “When I see people enjoying their day at the garden center, that is the thing that I enjoy. To me, that is the goal.”

SOURCE: Cleveland Italian American Heritage Committee

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