Talk to me about how and when the business was founded.
It all started with Gustavo Cosaro and Mario Tagliati. They survived poverty and stints in orphanages in post-war Italy and these struggles taught them the true value of the freedom to let loose and have a good time. They met working in the dining rooms of cruise ships, but they started their business right here in the picnic capital of the world, sunny Southern California, which we call home to this day.
In 1975, Woodland Hills, Calif., Gustavo and Mario opened “Two Gentlemen from Verona” (Wine + Cheese + Shakespeare? Sure!) Their goal was to provide great wine, quality cheese, and fun, friendly service. As the store grew and expanded its offerings, they started to hear one question more than any other: “You have all the supplies for a perfect picnic. Do you have a basket we could put this in?”
But at that time, nobody was making a picnic basket that met their standards. If nobody was doing it right, Gustavo and Mario would do it themselves. Six months and several trips across the Pacific later, our two global circumnavigators unloaded a container of empty, hand-woven baskets into Gustavo’s garage. After recruiting some family members to sew napkins and tablecloths, Picnic Time was born.
Sales began locally in the shop; over time they grew regionally and then nationally through trade shows and rapid word of mouth. When the dynamic duo outgrew the garage, they closed their wine and cheese shop and moved into a warehouse in Moorpark, Calif., where they could put all their focus on picnicking.
What was the inspiration/concept behind the company?
Picnic Time had a simple mission: sell traditional European-style picnic baskets that everyone could afford. These days, we sell many, many more products, but each and every one is still designed to bring people together.
What sets you apart from your competitors?
Everyone on our team is committed to your satisfaction, and we know we must earn the right to your business every day. Making you happy is, like, our whole entire thing.
How has the company grown since its launch?
Years have passed; one generation has succeeded another. In 2016, we were forced to bid adieu to Mario before we were ready. His memory lives on within us. After building careers in the entertainment industry and the restaurant business (respectively of course), sons Paul and Danny have stepped up to lead our team into a very-picnic-filled future.
Nearly 40 years after Picnic Time’s founding; after developing thousands of products, signing major licensing deals, and becoming total big-shots (jk!), we still have one guiding principle: Happiness is spending time and making memories with the people you love most. We make and sell products that enhance your precious leisure time – and make life a picnic!
What would you say has been one of your proudest moments for the company thus far?
Creating a company that truly is a family and has never lost focus of putting family and friend time first. We fully stand by our mission and so does each one of our employees: To create products that inspire friends and family to come together and make lasting memories.