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A Better Bakery in Bethel

For Mother-Daughter Team, Working in a Male-Dominated Industry is a Family Affair

Angela Petitti co-owns Gary's East Coast Service, a 24-year-old commercial appliance repair company that saves the region's restaurants from crippling due to a broken piece of equipment.
Angela and Lyndsi Petitti, Co-Owner and Communication & Technology Facilitator of Gary’s East Coast Service, Inc.
Meet Angela and Lyndsi Petitti
 

Co-Owner and Communication & Technology Facilitator, Gary’s East Coast Service, Inc.

The Backstory

In the restaurant industry, a broken piece of commercial kitchen equipment can instantly cripple a business and sap revenue. For nearly 25 years, restaurants, schools, corporate cafeterias, hospitals and food trucks throughout Connecticut and parts of Massachusetts and New York have trusted Gary’s East Coast Service, Inc. for prompt emergency repair and maintenance services for their commercial kitchen appliance equipment.

At the helm of the Shelton-based establishment is Angela Petitti, who co-owns the business with husband Gary. In 1994, the two launched the business out of their home garage and today employ 17 full-time staff, including their 22-year-old daughter, Lyndsi, a recent college graduate who serves as the company’s Communication and Technology Facilitator. Lyndsi and her younger sister Aylana (who is currently pursuing a business degree at UConn) both aspire to become the next generation to run Gary’s East Coast Service.

Despite being a close-knit family, Angela admits that owning a business with relatives does present its own, unique challenges at times. “Fortunately for us, my husband and I have different job duties,” she chuckled. Her jovial tone shifts as she describes the difficulty of maintaining work separate from family life. “We make a conscious effort not to bring up business when we’re all sitting at the dinner table,” she said. “We try to find the sweet spot where business stays at the office, and home is where we’re just a family. When you own a company, it can really take over your life if you let it. You never have enough time at home … and you never have enough time at work. You just have to try give to each its due.”

Earlier in the year, Petitti attended a networking event where she met Kenyetta Banks, Program Manager with the Women’s Business Development Council. Petitti shared with her the family’s plans to purchase a new building to house their business before their current lease ended. She needed help.

 

How Women's Business Development Council Helped

“We needed information on going about the process and especially how to approach financing. Kenyetta suggested I take a six-week business planning class. I thought it was the perfect opportunity for Lyndsi to come and share her input, too, as she’s very interested in taking over the business someday.”

The course was a shot in the arm of confidence for mother and daughter alike. One of the speakers featured in the course, Janet Siegenthaler (Manager of Business Counseling and Access to Capital at Women’s Business Development Council), struck a chord with the mother-daughter team.

“Janet said that we had a good, solid business,” the older Petitti said. “It was great to hear that we were on the right path and we gained great tips on how to grow even more. She guided us on the steps we needed to secure a real estate loan and gave us the confidence to go to the big banks and show them that we’re a solid, growing business.”

Petitti’s daughter, Lyndsi, who will play an instrumental role in the process of securing their new headquarters, from obtaining capital to moving into their new space, said that as a woman in a male-dominated industry, she understands how easy it can be for other women to be tempted to not speak up.

“My mom and I do automatically step into the roles that we have. It’s so important to never lose sight of the fact that what you, as a woman, bring to the table is important, too. Every day, I try to prove myself as much as possible. I’m trying to build experience by being as hands-on as I can with everything so I can be a good co-worker, a good daughter, and one day, a good boss.”

 

Find Out More About Gary’s East Coast Service, Inc.

For more information on Gary's East Coast Service, visit garyseast.com.