When Wayne Impullitti started scouting for a facility that could serve as headquarters for his four businesses, Newbury was not on his map.
He knew he had outgrown the 27,000-square-foot building he’d owned in the business park in Bainbridge since 1995. With about 80 employees and all the equipment and storage needs of a burgeoning landscaping venture, he needed someplace that would provide plenty of indoor and outdoor space as well as collaborative zoning.
The first he found in the old 84 Lumber store on State Route 44 just south of State Route 87. The second evolved.
“I was looking all over the place,” said Impullitti, 43. He wanted to keep the business in Geauga County, but was running into all kinds of opposition when he proposed building a facility to accommodate his projected growth. “Then this came up. It seems it would work perfectly for me. It was a little far out, but it was affordable.
“People I know said ‘What, are you nuts?’”
In fact, the deserted building, which has more than 30,000 square feet under cover, didn’t look very welcoming.
“It looked like a prison,” Impullitti admitted.
Compared to the garage where his father, Clifford Impullitti Sr., started the business in 1952 the facility is huge. It dwarfs the first building Wayne and his brother, Clifford Jr., occupied in Willoughby when their father retired, and with the nine acres along 44, is far more commodious than the Bainbridge location.
“When I moved to Bainbridge I said ‘I’ll never have to move again,’” he recalled. “Within 10 years I was saying ‘I’ve got to get out of here.’
“I’ll never say never again.”
Impullitti Landscaping is the largest jewel in the four-business crown with 70 employees and a promising clientele.
“Our client list for the landscaping business is like a Who’s Who of Cleveland,” Impullitti said. But Lawn Matters, which takes care of lawn fertilizing and tree and shrub care, Desatnik Tree Farms and Impullitti Gardens in Middlefield all show encouraging signs of growth. He figures the venture is growing 10 to 20 percent a year, justifying not only the purchase of a headquarters but also the astonishing renovation of a bare-bones structure.
The front structure facing SR 44 has about 12,000 square feet of space for offices, conference room, kitchen, work areas and an elegantly decorated reception room. The covered back building that was used for lumber storage covers 13,000 square feet and the side overhang adds another 7,000 square feet. Everything needed cleaned, replaced or rebuilt, but Impullitti had vision.
Part of that vision included recognition that there would be zoning issues in Newbury, too, but the township is gaining a reputation for working with businesspeople. He first met with township people in the summer.
A lot of negotiation ensued regarding landscaping, outside storage of equipment and materials and setbacks, among other things, but the transformation of the building from a prison to a quality business headquarters is appreciated by the township.
Mon, December 29, 2008
by Ann Wishart