Family-owned business still running strong in Town of Niagara
By David Yarger
For any small business, staying open for a few years is tough work, especially with surrounding competition. For the Rotella family at Wayside Landscaping & Nursery, they've made it look easy, as they will celebrate 50 years of service throughout 2018.
Since 1968, the family-operated business has provided Niagara and Erie County residents with commercial and residential landscaping services and a full-service nursery that carries top quality annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs. In addition, Wayside also offers Amish-made polywood furniture, as well as design services from the knowledgeable staff.
Vice President Michael Rotella said, "We offer a wide range of landscape and hardscape services. Really, anything that you can think of that has to do with landscaping, we can do."
Nursery Manager and Michael's sister, Julie Rotella, added she takes a lot of time traveling around to find new and unique plants for the nursery.
"Our plant material is top of the line," she said. "I travel all over to find new, upcoming plants. I find (plant material) out of the ordinary that normally you won't see in the box stores. ... Anything new, exciting looking I'll find it and I'll bring it in here."
Fifty years ago, Phillip Rotella Sr. founded the company alongside his wife, Jenine. As time went on, all of the Rotella children participated in the family business, starting with Philip Rotella Jr. Along with Rotella Jr., Michael said most of his sisters have had a place with the business, proving the Rotella family tree has kept the business up and running since 1968.
The dedication and persistence of the family did not go unrecognized as Michael was awarded the Town of Niagara Business Man of the Year in 2014 and said that residents of the Town of Niagara have been nothing but supportive in the 50 years.
"The Town of Niagara has been good to work with," he said. "As far as the town working with a local small family business, I feel like they've been very supportive."
Running a business is a task in itself. To keep the company moving forward, Michael and Julie said they have a commitment to excellence and are willing to work countless hours to carry on their father's legacy.
"We work really hard," Michael said. "This business is really hard, because you do have a lot of competition. ...We're all really dedicated and have a passion and care a lot about this business, that's really why it's still here."
Julie added, "We're very proud of it, as well. ... Our quality of material is so nice and there are people that like to come to us, because of our uniqueness, quality and customer service. ... Somebody can come in here and not know anything about plants. We're all very knowledgeable and before a plant leaves our nursery, we're telling them how to plant it, what type of sun or shade it needs and we help them create a design. We provide excellent service here."
Julie noted it takes three people to run the business - herself, Michael and their sister, Rachael Rotella-Glassner - and it works well, because all three have certain strengths of services they provide to day-to-day operations.
Fifty-year anniversaries only come around once for businesses and behind every successful business is a supportive community. To reach 50 years of business clearly meant a lot to the Rotellas.
"It's an honor that we have stayed open (this) long, it really is," Julie said. "A lot (nurseries) have been closing, so we've been blessed. ... Even after my father passed, I think we've done a great job as far as the three of us taking over and being able to run this business."
Michael added, "You don't see a lot of small businesses, especially ... landscape or nurseries. It means a lot to us. You can see we have the passion for it. We're really proud of what we've kept here."
In honor of their 50th anniversary the two said there are different specials the business is running, and the store recently underwent a complete makeover with a new look. Michael also said the business is providing customers with new, cutting edge services every day.
As Wayside celebrates 50 years of service, the business will continue to provide Western New Yorkers with quality nursery, landscaping and a vast array of outdoor services. For more information on the business, give the Rotella's a call at 297-3811, visit their website at www.waysidenurseryinc.com or visit their Facebook page.
Scenes from inside the nursery setting.