The Garden Dept. History

Since 1976, The Garden Dept. Corp. has been the premier full-service nursery and horticultural distribution center on Long Island, assisting home gardeners, contractors and professional landscapers with their gardening supplies. Its knowledgeable and responsive staff is able to assist its customers in placing large orders or putting together a design plan that meets their needs.

Some of the products offered include annuals, perennials, bulbs, gloves, rain gear, shoes, aquatic supplies, chemicals, fertilizers, mulch, sand, soil, stone, snow shovels, hoses, hose reels, anchor kits, rakes, trowels, wheelbarrows, spreaders and ball carts, among others — making The Garden Dept. a one-stop shop.

The Garden Dept. has a fleet of more than 18 vehicles, including over 10 dump trucks that are used to deliver sand, gravel, mulch, decorative stone, topsoil and compost. Flatbed trucks and tractor trailers are also available to make large and small deliveries, from large caliper trees to evergreens to small plant material.

Fourth-generation owner Don Caroleo has operated The Garden Dept. since 2002, succeeding his father, Vic Caroleo, who has since retired. Under Don’s leadership, The Garden Dept. has expanded to two locations — Coram, New York and Dix Hills, New York — while increasing its staff to over 75 employees and building up its product lines. He is looking to open multiple locations in the near future.

1940's

Don Caroleo Sr. immigrated from Italy. Opened landscaping company in Queens. Started the Caroleo legacy in the horticulture business. Soon after years of becoming extremely successful in the landscaping business Don Caroleo Sr. became one of Long Islands premiere real estate owners who bought a piece of property in 1975 in Coram of 2 acres.

1976

Vic Caroleo son of Don Caroleo Sr. opened The Garden Dept. Corp. with 2 acres and nowhere to start from. Vic took pride in his hard work to grow one of Long Island’s most successful nurseries. Following in your father's footsteps, along with making a name for yourself and your business in this type of industry isn't an easy task, but it was one that Vic was determined to master and he did. Over time Vic has become an expert in the nursery business, very well respected in the community and in the business world. Vic Caroleo is a very articulate and inspiring man known for his wisdom and knowledge. Although Vic has retired and handed the business to his son Don Caroleo, he still holds a chair on the board and offers his expertise and advice in the newest Dix Hills location which has been a major success and great move by The Garden Dept.

2002

In 2002, Don took over the business. At a time when Vic fell ill, Don needed to keep the business going. He had to build an employee roster from scratch while loading trucks, shipping the correct plant material and taking phone calls. Soon, his father recovered and came back to the business when the Dix Hills location opened to assist in the daily operations. Because that turned out to be a very successful venture, Don sought his father’s guidance to keep the new location operable. Soon after, Vic decided to retire and hand over the business to Don.

About Don Caroleo

A fourth-generation owner, Don Caroleo has been involved with The Garden Dept. Corp. since he was eight years old. He would come to the nursery every day with his father, Vic, and, at an early age, he learned about the value of hard work. As he grew up with the company, Don loaded mulch, learned about plant material, and delivered supplies to customers; he soon also learned about the business end of the company, where he is very hands-on and knowledgeable in making the company’s financial decisions.

In 2002, Don took over the business. At a time when Vic fell ill, Don needed to keep the business going. He had to build an employee roster from scratch while loading trucks, shipping the correct plant material and taking phone calls. Soon, his father recovered and came back to the business when the Dix Hills location opened to assist in the daily operations. Because that turned out to be a very successful venture, Don sought his father’s guidance to keep the new location operable. Soon after, Vic decided to retire and hand over the business to Don.

Under Don’s leadership, The Garden Dept. expanded to two locations, saw its staff grow to over 75 employees and built up its fleet of trucks from six to over 18, allowing the company to make deliveries to his customers in a timelier manner. He also proactively and aggressively sought new business, more than tripling the number of accounts in his customer base.

When he started working as a child, The Garden Dept. offered plant material, mulch, topsoil, rocks and railroad ties, among others. As an owner, he expanded the product line to include tools, fertilizer and seed, a full line of hard goods and much more to be a one-stop shop for their customers’ horticultural and landscaping needs.

What separates Don from the others in the industry is his business sense, his ability to take big risks and thinking outside the box. Some may say that his blood runs green from being in the business for so long, but that is what makes Don the businessman that he is.