Family is at the core of Hillsborough-based VIETRI, Inc. After a 1983 trip to Italy, sisters Susan and Frances Gravely and their mother Lee started the company to share their passion for colorful and hand-painted dinnerware with American consumers.
Today, VIETRI has grown into the nation’s largest importer of fine Italian handcrafted dinnerware, flatware, glassware, linens, decorative accessories, and garden urns. VIETRI has not only touched tens of thousands of lives through the artisan-crafted products and feeling of the Italian lifestyle they bring to their customers, but also employs a hardworking family of staff members who are excited about their work and love to have fun.
To celebrate the company’s 30th birthday, VIETRI’s employees wanted to extend its family spirit to their neighbors. By partnering with Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, VIETRI employees have enthusiastically joined the Jones family to build a home.
Missy Jones and her daughter Demontea, nicknamed “Mooka,” know about working together. They share responsibilities at their apartment in Cedar Grove, such as caring for Mooka’s son Jamari, but the concept of family goes beyond home. Both mother and daughter work at Hillsborough-based direct mail company PHE, where coworkers seem like family as well.
Last year, Missy and Mooka volunteered to help a PHE coworker build his Habitat home. In addition to helping a member of their work family, the pair learned new skills that sparked dreams of building a new home of their very own.
Missy applied for and was accepted into Habitat’s homeownership program, allowing her to build and purchase a home through a zero-interest mortgage. The Jones family will pay closing costs, make monthly mortgage payments, and perform 325 hours of sweat equity work.
“I’ve been on my own since I was 18 and paying rent for 25 years,” Missy said. “When I got the call saying I had been approved for a Habitat home, I started screaming and jumping for joy.”
Habitat has brought the VIETRI family and the Jones family together to build a new home on Locust Road in Hillsborough, just miles from the company’s home office. VIETRI is the lead sponsor for the Jones’ home, contributing $78,000 and hundreds of employee volunteer hours. SunTrust Foundation contributed $5,000 toward construction, and Warren-Hay Mechanical Contractors contributed the HVAC system.
“For 30 years, VIETRI has been a part of many homes and lives,” said Susan Gravely, the company’s Founder and CEO. “Now we want to give back to Missy, Mooka, and Jamari—a family who needs a home—in honor of the many homes that have been a part of our success.”
VIETRI employees have embraced Missy and Mooka. Each time they volunteer on the worksite, you can hear squeals of joy and see wide smiles. In addition to helping build the home, VIETRI employees invited Missy for a tour of the VIETRI showroom and even performed a special Valentine’s Day song and dance to celebrate their partnership.
To raise money for the Habitat build, VIETRI worked with artisans in Italy to create limited edition 30th anniversary mugs, which are being sold across the country, with all proceeds going toward building the Jones’ home. VIETRI has also featured Habitat at and donated a percentage of sales from its biannual, exceedingly popular Warehouse Sale.