Vietri co-founder Frances Gravely retires
Casual Living Staff -- Casual Living, July 16, 2012
Vietri Inc., importer of fine Italian handcrafted dinnerware, flatware, glassware, linens, decorative accessories and garden urns, announced that Frances Gravely, co-founder and vice president of brand development, will retire. Gravely will continue as a consultant and member of the company's board of directors.
Gravely, with her sister Susan and mother Lee, founded Vietri in 1983 after a family trip to Italy, where they fell in love with the colorful hand-painted dinnerware of the Amalfi Coast. Vietri has grown from a small company representing one Italian factory to the largest importing company of handcrafted Italian products in the American tabletop industry. The company now serves a customer base of more than 2,000 specialty stores in all 50 states, Canada, England, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, South America, Asia and Australia.
Vietri represents about 40 manufacturers throughout Italy involved in ceramics, glass, stainless steel, pewter and Italian stoneware. The company introduces new products twice a year at major gift and tabletop shows across the U.S.
An integral part of Vietri for nearly three decades - from helping with product designs to assisting with sales and marketing - Gravely has worked to grow and build the brand on a global level.
"Frances will still be vital in our brainstorming sessions and Board meetings. It has been an incredible 30 years working side by side - and now it will be a wonderful chance for her to have some free time! Vietri would not be Vietri if Frances had not been here to give her input and creative guidance," said CEO Susan Gravely.
Frances Gravely was the company's director of marketing for several years before transitioning to vice president of brand development as the company expanded. She has continued to be a spokesperson for Vietri as a guest speaker at universities, organizations and at major Vietri stores across the country.
"Starting Vietri and being a part of its success has been a constant joy," Frances Gravely said. "We are truly a family company. My friendships with our employees, our sales reps, store owners and staff and our beloved Italian colleagues and their families are priceless to me. I look forward to remaining a part of Vietri's expansion and continuing success with our young and experienced leaders and my sister Susan's wisdom and inspiring energy. What an adventure Vietri has been and will continue to be!"
Vietri will hold a company-wide party to celebrate Frances Gravely's retirement in late August.