It was more than a century ago when a young Italian immigrant, Joseph Critelli, saw opportunity beckon in the thriving Niagara Region of Southern Ontario. Joseph was a contractor who had been hired to help in the creation of the vast hydroelectric projects in Niagara Falls on both sides of the border between Canada and the United States. He brought his own workers over with him from Italy, doing very well for himself. Joseph decided to put down roots with his wife and children and call Canada home.
In 1914– Joseph’s eldest son, Thomas H. Critelli, with Joseph’s assistance and encouragement, opened the family’s first retail store in 1914 selling groceries, hardware and furniture in the nearby town of Thorold. Thomas’s natural creativity and design instincts would quickly lure him to the Finest Furniture available.
In 1936– Thomas’s store was thriving, so he soon opened a second store with his younger brother, Frank, in downtown Niagara Falls. Although the Depression was still a factor in other regions, there was an exciting construction boom along the busy Welland Canal that complemented the optimism of Canadian expansion.
In 1939– In keeping with the patriarch’s vision, Thomas founded a third store in downtown St. Catharines and the business grew rapidly. Thomas sold the Thorold store to his employees in order to concentrate on the St. Catharines’ enterprise.
In 1946– Thomas J. Critelli joins his father’s growing company.
In 1961– We close our Niagara Falls location, preparing for a new chapter.
In 1963– Expansion was vital and in 1963, we completed our current King Street location with four separate showrooms and an on-site warehouse. Thomas J. Critelli takes over as a second generation owner from his father.
In 1979– Frank D’ Angelo, Critelli’s longest serving employee begins his career as an interior design specialist.
In 1980– Joseph Critelli, grandson of founder Thomas H. Critelli and youngest son to Thomas J. Critelli joins the company.
In 1989– Joe’s Sister, Misette Critelli joins the company on an everyday basis.
In 1990– Thomas J. Critelli retires leaving his son, Joseph Critelli as the current and third generation owner of Critelli’s Fine Furniture.
In 2002– Twelve years after taking over operations, part of Joe’s search for new ways to meet customer needs, Critelli’s opens a second St. Catharines store, “Transitions New Lifestyle Furniture” which is located just around the corner from their traditional home base. “It tells a new story in a new way” with modern, contemporary and transitional furniture.
In 2003– Misette Critelli becomes the first Manager of Transitions, making this the second family run store in the city.
In 2009– Joe Critelli purchases the building directly beside Critelli’s current store for future expansion.
In 2014– 100 Year Celebration!
In 2015– Better Sleep Center expansion to Critelli’s.
In 2016– Unique one of a kind Rug Market makes its debut.
In 2017– Julia Critelli joins the family business and becomes the 4th generation to serve St. Catharines area.
“I still remember the early days, truly a family business. My father worked in the store, raised a family of six kids and I have wonderful memories of those times. My grandfather, too, enjoyed the business tremendously and worked until he was 89!”