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Decor-Rest Celebrates It's 40th Year In Business: A Company History

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Decor-Rest, a leading Canadian manufacturer of fine upholstery announced that throughout 2012 the company will be celebrating it's 40th year in business, starting with TCHFM, The Canadian Home Furnishings Market, January 14-17. To commemorate this event, Decor-Rest and the Marzilli family prepared the following history of Decor-Rest to share with Furniture World Magazine readers.




Today's Decor-Rest

 Vintage 70s Design

Vintage 70s Design




Vintage 70s Design

Vintage 70s Design

Vintage 70s Design

Decor-Rest History: Celebrating 40 years,! The vision continues!

The story of the Marzilli family is an inspiring tale of warmth, love, passion, commitment and persistence.  There have been changes in the world’s economies to confront, but the Marzillis never lost their focus on the joy and importance of each day and the brilliant promise of the future.

Angelo Marzilli is the eldest child of Arcangelo and Bambina Marzilli, a traditional farming family.  As a little boy, Angelo combined school studies with working in his family’s fields during harvest time.  Often the crop was not sufficient.  In 1960, his father made the difficult decision to immigrate to Toronto, Canada.  For three years Arcangelo worked in the construction trade, carefully saving his money, then sent for Bambina and Angelo, now 15, to join him. Campobasso is one of the coldest areas in Southern Italy, and the frequent winter snowfalls might have helped to prepare the family for the Canadian climate.

Angelo spoke no English, and he spent six perplexing months at a Toronto school before recognizing his personal vision.  He joined the furniture industry and focused his creative strengths on developing the skills of a master upholsterer.

Christina, born in the same Campobasso village, is the daughter of Salvatore and Michela Prioriello and, in similar circumstances, the family came to Canada when Christina and her brother, Pasquale, were small children. Angelo knew that Christina would become his life partner and, with their shared instincts for quality, fashion and value, the couple began immediately to visualize, plan and implement their future together and start an upholstery manufacturing company.  In May, 1972, Decor-Rest Chesterfield was registered. 

They were married on Angelo’s birthday, September 9, 1972. Angelo and Christina spent their honeymoon at High Point, North Carolina, visiting all the showrooms. They embraced the same commitment and goal, to create fine products they and their customers would be proud to have in their own homes. 

The Marzillis rented their first 4,000 square foot factory on Wabash Avenue, Toronto and, within two years, employed more than 20 craftspeople.  Christina’s skills in retail merchandising, visual display and accounting complemented Angelo’s craftsmanship.  Business was excellent and, in 1976, he rented a 20,000 square foot complex on Floral Parkway. Their staff grew to 35. 

Angelo and Christina’s management skills sharpened, they reinvested their profits in the company, lived a modest life, watched pennies and overheads, always waited until they could afford the next move. It was in 1980 that Angelo fulfilled his ambition to buy, not rent, Decor-Rest’s next corporate home on Milvan Drive

As the business grew, it became a family affair.  Raised in the business, their daughter, Natalie, was born in 1973, son Angelo JR in 1975.  Said Natalie, “We were always part of Decor-Rest, at first there were playpens in the boardroom.  Later we brought our homework and books to what became, after work hours, the family’s pleasant living/dining room, everyone talking and enjoying one another’s company.  Christina added a university student to our group to teach us French and Italian.”

In 1994, the Marzillis expanded again, another milestone, to a more than 25,000 square foot facility at Signet Drive.  Although they were innovative about creating additional space, their vision was still on the move when they bought land on Chrislea Road, Woodbridge, their ultimate dream location.  When the vision became reality with the construction of The Showplace in 2,000, a Millennium landmark, their space increased to 225,000 square feet, incorporating the plant, business offices and two floors of superb showrooms and meeting rooms.  The craftspeople and administrative staff grew to more than 250 committed people. 
 Said Angelo JR, “Decor-Rest’s proudly Canadian marketing reach, with our team of 30 representatives, extended now to the United States, Asia, Northern Europe, the Caribbean and the Middle East.  In 1995, we opened an 8,000 square foot showroom in High Point, North Carolina, to serve our international buyers. 

“Our direction has matured exponentially over the decades, the result of our family’s passion for excellence and Angelo and Christina’s focus on research, leading edge design, fine craftsmanship and advanced technology.  Their dedication has been recognized by the furniture industry with more national Trillium Awards than any other upholstery company for superiority of product design and marketability.  Our corporate family has been strengthened with of our Associate Designers, Steven and Chris and Cobi Ladner, who have added their creativity to Decor-Rest’s unique appeal.”

In keeping with sustainability and ecological awareness, green initiatives have been introduced on the factory floor.  Steel springs are recycled and soya-based foam is incorporated into meticulously fashioned cushioning.  Waste is reduced by minimizing packaging and streamlining all aspects of manufacturing.  And Decor-Rest’s legendary top quality is guaranteed, working within the ISO 9001-2008 quality, state-of-the-art management system.

Natalie defined the heart of Decor-Rest.  “Angelo and Christina have developed into wonderful mentors, not only to my brother and me, but also to their six grandchildren.  Their ability to juggle family obligations to their parents, children and grandchildren while, at the same time creating space for themselves, each other and their highly successful business, fascinates us all, each day.  To what do we attribute this magic?  The same as always, hard work, dedication and a passion for what we do.  And, of course, to put a fun into everything!  I love and enjoy each and every day.”

Angelo JR added, “We all look with excitement, confidence and commitment to the future.  The Decor-Rest family will continue to focus on integrity, quality, hands-on day-to-day attention to detail, innovative design and creativity, extraordinary service and a passion for growth.  Every single piece of furniture that we produce is, and always will be, ‘built by our family for your family’ for the decades to come.

“And that’s a promise!”

Community Outreach - Quotes From Organizations.

Our Decor-Rest family has been inspired by many individuals and organizations in our community and, as a family and as a corporate group, we reach out to day-care programs for adults with Alternatives Integrating People with Cognitive Challenges (AIPWCC) and their Chocolate Concepts, to children who are developmentally challenged through Youth Bocce Canada, and to Hospice Vaughan, supporting families coping with life-threatening illness and loss.

Alternatives Integrating People with Cognitive Challenges/Chocolate Concepts Inc.
Phyllis Santone, President

“My first encounter with Christina, Angelo and Décor-Rest occurred approximately 10 years ago. My youngest daughter, who is developmentally challenged, was involved in an organization that provided a recreational sport called bocce to people with developmental disabilities. My daughter and I were invited to attend a holiday party for this group, and the party took place at the Decor-Rest location. I was truly impressed with the sincere generosity of the Marzillis who hosted about 200 people for lunch in their beautiful facility. They did this for a number of years, and were so humble in the pleasure they provided to the developmentally challenged young people in their community.

“Every encounter with Decor-Rest reinforced how the true sense of family working together can lead to accomplishment and success.  Upon visiting, you were sure to observe the Marzillis, their children and the grandchildren.  So impressed was I with Christina’s business savvy and the close-knit family environment she and her husband had created, that I immediately called upon her to share advice, and I requested her support in an endeavor which I was about to embark upon.  Christina, with her warm and endearing smile, of course agreed.

 “Christina and Angelo for many years have continued to sponsor an annual golf tournament, and they have supported other fund-raising efforts of the charity which I founded, Alternatives Integrating People with Cognitive Challenges.  Not only did the Marzillis support the charity, but they also supported the efforts to grow Chocolate Concepts Inc./Forevercocoa. 

“The community of Vaughan is clearly enriched with corporate citizens such as Decor-Rest, and families like the Marzillis whose example and philosophy of giving back has such a positive impact on so many.”

(Visit the website of Chocolate Concepts Inc./Forevercocoa and, through that site, also link to the Alternatives’ website by clicking on the tab “in the community”.)

Youth Bocce Canada.  Lee Prioriello, President...
A Tribute to Angelo and Christina Marzilli on their 40th year in business and marriage.

“I’m very proud to be their first cousin!

“They are always lending a helping hand to those in need and less fortunate.  Charity for them is not just an empty word but a concrete gesture.  Life has given them so much and they want to give something back to others; they want to share their fortune.  And the special needs boys and girls of Youth Bocce Canada occupy a special place in their hearts.
“Being a Platinum Sponsor of Youth Bocce for the past 17 years is no longer enough.  They want to influence the lives of these young people in a more profound manner, and so twice they hosted a very rich Christmas Banquet at their glittering Decor-Rest hall for about 300 special needs children, volunteers and other contributors.  At their banquet they even donated a gift to all the children present and in 2011, Angelo was an active official at our first-ever International Bocce Tournament.

“I believe that what drives the Marzillis’ commitment and devotion to others is their personal story, their past, their journey, always walking on their own two feet and never forgetting their roots.

“It’s citizens like Angelo and Christina that make the York Region and Toronto the best place in the world to live and raise a family.  I’m so proud to be part of their family.”

Hospice Vaughan.  Alessandra Piccolo, Board Member, Special Events Coordinator

“It is with great pleasure that I write on behalf of Hospice Vaughan and its experience with Decor-Rest.

“Hospice Vaughan was established in 1995 for the purpose of assisting individuals and their families during the last stages of life.  Hospice Vaughan’s mission is: ‘Supporting families coping with life-threatening illness and loss’.

“Over the years, Decor-Rest has been a loyal Victory Sponsor of our annual ‘Giving Thanks Gala’ (Gala Sponsors: Victory, Journey, Courage and Hope) and yet Christina and Angelo continue without hesitation to give of their company and of themselves.  They are exemplary community members of both humility and respect.  This year, Hospice Vaughan went through a renovation/facelift to provide a warmer, more welcoming environment to our clients and, once again, it is through generous support like that of Decor-Rest that makes Hospice Vaughan shine.  It is with great pride that we showcase the furniture donated by Decor-Rest, and manufactured in Canada.

“Hospice Vaughan thanks Decor-Rest on behalf of those many individuals who have benefited from our services, and those who will continue to benefit.  We would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Christina and Angelo on Decor-Rest’s 40th Anniversary and their 40th Wedding Anniversary.  May your journey in life bring many more anniversaries . . . . cheers!  On behalf of the Board of Directors, staff, volunteers and clients, I, Alessandra Piccolo, would like to thank Decor-Rest, Christina, Angelo and their family for their generous support throughout the years.”     (Become acquainted with Hospice Vaughan at their website, hospicevaughan.com)

Quotes From Our Retail Partners

Celebrating Decor-Rest’s four decades with us, our close-knit families of Retail Partners share our values.  Here are a few commentaries:

Arrow Furniture, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Jeff Michaels

“We are a third generation, family-run business, first opened in 1969.  From my recollection, Arrow Furniture and Decor-Rest have been doing business as long as we have been open.  I started in the business in 1996, when Decor-Rest was located on Signet.  Over the years, I’ve seen them transform into one of the leaders in the industry for locally made production upholstered furniture.

“I’ve worked with Christina, Angelo Sr., Angelo Jr. and Natalie throughout my dealings with them.  We have a common bond in relation to running a family business.  We have to cater to the customer, be different from our competition and, at the same time, have our fingers in everything around us to be sure it’s delegated to the right employee if not handled by ourselves.

“I’ve seen Decor-Rest transform from Signet which was small in comparison with their facility on Chrislea.  Even though they are doing more business, employing more people and obviously have many more customers worldwide, we are still welcome there for lunch, dinners and even homemade wine and hot sauce!  Yes, hot sauce . . . . Angelo Sr. makes pretty good hot sauce . . . .

“I recall a story my Dad told me. About 20 years ago he and Angelo Sr. had some differences that they needed to resolve.  Angelo told my father to come by the office.  When he got there, Angelo instructed one of his staff to go downstairs and grab ‘the expensive bottle’.  I don’t really know how many bottles they went through that evening, but I do know they hammered out their differences with a handshake, the way it used to be. No signing of papers, no contracts or commitments, just a plain handshake.

“Ever since it’s always brought up in dealings with them . . . . ‘Do we need to have that bottle of wine again?’ . . . .

“In the present time of business, when two companies are able to grow and go through with deals on a handshake, you can imagine the upmost respect the two parties have for each other.  Although times have changed and, of course, as you get bigger you need to document certain things, I do know that in 2011, if I have an issue or simply want to discuss something I can call Angelo Sr., and he would treat me with the same respect as if I were a $1 customer or a $100 million customer . . . well, sort of . . . . “

Decorium Furniture, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Joe Forberg, Founder

“We’ve been in the retail business since the ‘60s, and I met the Marzillis before they were founded in 1972, when Angelo went into business for himself. Angelo was in much smaller premises then, doing most of the upholstery himself, steadily working towards their future.  Now, today, they are one of our leading suppliers.

“They always made a conscious effort, right from the beginning, to build a better, nicely constructed product.   And they had good taste with fabric selection, always on the cutting edge of fashion.

We always helped one another when we could.  If I needed something in a rush, they always tried to help me.  In those days, they could do that kind of thing.  I’ve always felt comfortable about the Marzillis, what wonderful service we got!

“We are much of the same philosophy.  It’s all about relationships with the consumer and with the suppliers.  I learned from my father and also from the Marzillis.

“They have their own next generation in the business.  I have Howard and Steven, they Angelo JR.  Between our three sons, we have three of the young, up and coming professionals in this generation, all in the furniture business, them in manufacturing, us in retailing. 

“I hope our sons continue just as we have over the first 40 years!”

Gallery One and Worldwide, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.  Joe Ramia, Founder

“The Marzillis and the Ramias have enjoyed a very good relationship over many, many years. We grew with them right from the beginning, and they are second to none.   They have become leaders and innovators in their field.

“In any issues we’ve had they address them personally, and Angelo has flown down to the Maritimes to take care of it.  It’s just how they address these issues, very honourable and loyal individuals.

“Decor-Rest has won more Trillium Awards than any other manufacturing company.  We sat with the Marzilli family at the Awards banquet in Toronto one year, and they were recognized for the design of a particular collection. Angelo refused to take the award himself; he insisted that credit be given to the person on his staff who had actually designed it.
“They are very good people with strong family views, and that’s how they have built their business.

“Angelo is famous for his remarkable hot sauce, actually, he says, it’s his grandmother’s recipe.  Angelo is sure that the ingredients will cure any ailment known to man.  That sauce has been keeping the Ramia family healthy for a lot of years!”

Leon’s Furniture, stores Canada-wide.  Sam Meilhac, Upholstery Buyer

“When I first started at Leon’s 25 years ago as the upholstery buyer, Decor-Rest was already a Leon’s supplier. We’ve watched each other’s business grow and prosper over the years.

“I want to congratulate Christina and Angelo and all the Marzilli family for their dedication and commitment to the Canadian furniture industry.

“May they carry on for future generations to come!”

Raymour and Flanigan, U.S.A.  Michelle Enders, Buyer

“When you’re visiting the Marzillis at either their High Point, North Carolina, showroom, or at the factory in Woodbridge, Canada, their hospitality is absolutely memorable!

“The entire family makes you feel welcome and valued as a customer!” 

Stoney Creek Furniture.  Dennis Novosel, Founder

“We have appreciated the Marzillis incredible creativity right from the start, and we’ve become a little bit like family over the years.

“They have done a great job and, on top of that, I like them!  They are great people.

“Steven and Chris and Cobi Ladner are good additions to their Associate Design Team.

“And they share top-of-the-list status amongst our largest vendors!”

Tepperman’s Furniture, Southwestern Ontario, Canada.  Bill Tepperman, Chairman

“What a delight for me to be able to congratulate two people in the Canadian Furniture Industry who represent so many of the good things that have made our industry a special one, and our country a better place.

“Christina and Angelo came to Canada with a dream to build a future, and what a future they have built, for themselves, for their family, and for the consumers of North America!

“Their entrepreneurial spirit, their inventiveness, their competitiveness, their pride and excitement in accomplishment, are among the many things to be admired by all of us.

“I have had the privilege of knowing them all through the years.  And, even during the times when our business paths did not coincide, I believe that we always knew that the Marzilli Family and the Tepperman Family are the kinds of families that have helped to develop the backbone of the industry.

“Family to family, that IS the difference.

“May they live and prosper for years to come.”

Also Tepperman’s Furniture!  Gina Delicata, Vice President, Sales and Marketing

“I can still recall my initial visit to the Decor-Rest showroom almost 30 years ago.  That was when I first met both Christina and Angelo.  As they showed us their products, they were both beaming with pride.  I knew then the Marzillis were a special family.

“Over the years, when any of the Tepperman’s team visited the showroom, we were always treated with respect by Christina and Angelo, and made to feel comfortable and valued.
“It was always clear that they put a great deal of passion into every new product introduced, and even though they have a highly successful business, that tradition continues today.

“After 40 years in business, it is tremendously exciting to see that the foundation of quality, value, family and passion continues with the second generation of the Marzilli family.

“Congratulations on 40 outstanding years in business.”


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