CHRIS PULLAM, Editor Published in: The Glenview Lantern, March 22, 2018
An unimposing warehouse, tucked away on johns drive, houses thousands of Italian made ceramics: pottery from Vietri Sul Mare, old-world majolica from Florence, dinnerware and candles from Deruta.
Artistica located at 1874 johns Drive in Glenview, has deep roots in both Italy and the North Shore. Co-owner Marco Margaritelli – born and raised in Deruta, a hill town the size of Glencoe in the Umbria region of central Italy – immigrated to the United States at the age of 25 and opened the original Artistica in Miami in 1991.
It was always my dream to own a business, he said. “It was always on my mind, and what’s better than opening a business and importing the goods from your town? It was a natural fit, and the people in my hometown already know me. We’ve been in business since 1990, and we’re very loyal to all our vendors, we never abandon any of them. His wife and business partner, Alice, moved to the United States from Iran in 1972. She eventually settled in Glenview and has been a resident for more than three decades. "I’ve lived in Glenview for so long" she said, my kids went to Glenbrook South. "I wish I’d gone to a high school like that. I’d never want to leave Glenview". The couple met through a mutual friend in 2000 with the intention of expending to Chicagoland. Later that year, they opened Artistica’s second retail location at 990 Green Bay Road in Winnetka. They married a few years after that.
Artistica has thrived over the past 30+ years by combining Marco’s experience as business owner with Alice’s background in retail. After operating in Winnetka for nearly 17 years, Marco and Alice Margaritelli relocated the shop to Glenview in November to support an ever-growing demand for their products. “We needed a larger space”, Marco said. "Winnetka was just a regular store, but now we have the upside to grow in Glenview." "With Glenview being my home for so many years, I wanted to open a shop we could walk to", Alice added.
Artistica showcases an always expending product line that now features more than 3,500 products. In order to assure the best quality and price points, Marco and Alice Margaritelli maintain full control of their production, closely working with their Italian work-shop under exclusivity agreement and often absorbing most of their individual production.
Since 1991 Artistica has also expanded into the B2B Market with the trade showrooms throughout the USA, including in Las Vegas and Atlanta. Its products have even been used to decorate world-renowned hotels like the Bellagio, Mirage and Treasure Island in Las Vegas. Many Italian-themed restaurants – olive Garden, Baggie’s, Macaroni Grill – also showcase Artistica’s products "It's very emotional [seeing our products in businesses]" Marco said. “This isn’t just about money for us. Seeing our products in hotels and restaurants, it’s justification that this is tangible that you can really touch with your hands. It’s a big accomplishment. It’s one thing to send a big order to a customer across the world. Not only that, but it's another thing to enjoy dinner surrounded by your own products.”