Solmar Development: The Marotta Family’s Values And Traits That Have Led To Business Success
The next generation reflects old-world traditions at one of Vaughan’s most respected developers.
As with special and successful family-owned and operated businesses, the quality, work ethic, character and integrity of the company are not by accident. Rather, these admired traits are often reflections of the family itself. Such is the case with the Marotta family of Vaughan and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., owners of Solmar Development Corporation, one of the most admired and respected builders of luxury residential properties in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and founders and proprietors of Two Sisters Vineyards, one of Canada’s top wineries.
Those traits began with the patriarch of the Marotta family, Benny Marotta. Benny grew up in postwar Italy and emigrated from Naples to Canada at just 18 years of age, settling in Vaughan (home to many Italians at the time), where he could connect with the Italian culture.
“I saw a huge opportunity in what was offered to us as immigrants,” Benny said in a recent interview with City Life.“I came to the conclusion that when someone leaves behind his country, it should be with the desire and ambition to succeed not only financially, but also to raise a family, so they can be given a better future and opportunities as well. I also learned it takes time and patience to reach the success I have today.”
Driven by a single purpose to succeed, Benny has more than achieved his goals. He and his wife, Louise, have two daughters, Angela and Melissa, who both work at Solmar. And 13 years ago, they founded the now award-winning Two Sisters Vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The daughters’ business success in many ways reflects and is a product of the values and traits of their parents.
“They taught us to look at life with a different perspective,” recalls Angela Marotta. “We grew up with an open mind and in a position where we really understood people and their emotions — we’re very receptive to that. They taught us to look at life with a much broader perspective than most.” “They also taught us hard work and perseverance,” adds Melissa Marotta-Paolicelli. “Set your mind on something and how you’re going to get there. Once we know what our goal is, we move forward to it. Just like Two Sisters Vineyards, focusing on a goal over these last years and moving toward it.” Hard work and perseverance were the benchmarks of Benny’s approach to his new life in Canada. Starting small 25 years ago by building luxury customer homes in select pockets of Toronto, such as Forest Hill and the Bridle Path, Benny then began to purchase small parcels of land on the outskirts of the GTA. Solmar then began to branch out and build communities, which grew into subdivisions and eventually high-rise developments.
“We’re proud of the community, as it’s where we live and grew up, and we wanted to create landmarks” — Angela Marotta
Benny had the vision for the first high-rise condo in Vaughan, a novel thought at the time that condominium living could succeed in the land of 2,500-square-foot detached homes. Though initially opposed, he succeeded by developing the four-building Bellaria Residences.“We saw there was a need for condominium living in Vaughan,” says Angela. “We’re proud of the community as it’s where we live and grew up, and we wanted to create landmarks.” Today, Solmar Developments is a diverse company with a wide portfolio of residential and commercial properties throughout the GTA and southern Ontario. Its residential holdings include grand estate manor homes, classic single detached homes, semis, townhomes and luxury high-rise condominiums. The company’s properties are widely respected for their high quality, innovative designs and the pride of old-world craftsmanship in their exacting attention to detail.
Solmar has always focused on customer care and personalized design. To that end, the company offers a design studio to provide future purchasers customized design decisions about their future homes by working alongside Solmar’s professional designing consultants. They also provide exceptional after-sales service, inspecting homes 30 days and one year after move-in dates, and provide warranties for up to seven years to add to homeowners’ peace of mind. “We respect and enjoy our customers, even having espresso with them. We’ll always maintain that human touch,” says Angela.
Two Sisters Vineyards (started with Melissa and Angela’s father in 2006) is another example of the family’s work ethic, integrity and quality. The winery now produces the finest Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot from the beautiful and rich terroir of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The winery also features a restaurant serving authentic Italian cuisine from Marotta family recipes using food from local Niagara producers, whom the Marottas are proud to support.
Two Sisters’ rise to the top of Canadian wineries is another testament to the lessons the sisters learned growing up about hard work and keeping a goal in sight. In 2018, Two Sisters was awarded the title of Best Performing Small Winery in Canada, and in 2017, it even hosted a day with Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest to celebrate the birthday of Ripa’s son.
“Drinking wine is about the experience because of who you are drinking it with, the conversations you have. And we wanted to create a place to have that experience,” says Angela. “People feel very comfortable when they visit us, as it’s like our family home. It was a dream of our family to share this love we have of things you can enjoy in life. It’s very reflective of who we are as a family.”
“We respect and enjoy our customers, even having espresso with them. We’ll always maintain that human touch” — Angela Marotta
The Marotta family’s success has allowed them to give back and assist many causes, such as Humber River Hospital, Vaughan Hospice, SickKids, the Art Gallery of Ontario and Caledon Food Bank, among others. In 2018, they donated $1 million to Niagara College’s Achieving Dreams Campaign, and in recognition, the college named its new innovation complex the Marotta Family Innovation Complex, which will support the growing competitiveness of Niagara’s agri-business sector. Two Sisters also donated to establish a bursary fund at the college.
In every way, the quality values and traits of the Marotta family shine through and will continue to do so for many generations to come, by the home or by the glass.