Founding

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Jim and Cathy Piala first opened the gates at Piala’s Nursery and Garden Shop, Inc. in April of 1978.

Prior to founding Piala’s Nursery, Jim had received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Loyola University Chicago along with commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

During high school and college, Jim worked for Hoelterhoff Brothers Garden Shop located on the far northwest corner of Chicago. He also worked at their nursery near Elgin, Il.

After a stint with the Army’ 8th Special Forces in Central America and leaving the army as a Captain, Jim worked as a Group Leader and Project Manager for 4 ½ years at a consulting firm in Northbrook, Ill. The firm conducted environmental studies for utilities and large corporations. He then took a job as Program Manager of Environmental Studies at Wisconsin Electric Power Company, where he worked for four years. Although pay and working conditions at WEPCo were very good, Jim longed for spending more time outdoors around plants and animals – originally why he majored in Biology.

Cathy had earned an Associate Degree from DePaul University of Chicago, majoring in Business. She had worked in management as a Business Service Counselor at AT&T in Chicago and transferred to AT&T in Wisconsin when she and Jim moved there.

Jim and Cathy wanted to share their mutual enjoyment of the outdoors and a desire to enhance the environment. After much soul-searching and planning, they established Piala’s Nursery in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Their mission was to provide high quality service, plants, and other landscape material for their customers, and to share with like minded customers the enjoyment of the outdoors and enhancement of the environment. – the same as it is today, 35 years later.

Cathy continued to work at AT&T, while Jim worked full time at Piala’s Nursery. She worked administratively and with customers evenings, weekends, and during “vacation”, until the business was firmly established. Since then, she worked full time with Jim at Piala’s Nursery.

Piala’s Nursery Today

Over the years, Piala’s Nursery and Garden Shop, Inc. has grown to cover thirty acres. In addition to the flagship Garden Shop, the company has grown to include a Design/Build Landscape Division, Nursery and Greenhouse Growing Division, and a Re-Wholesale Division.

Second Generation

Quinn further prepared himself for working in the design/build part of Piala’s Nursery by earning a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture at Ohio State university. The Ohio State LA program is one of the best and most rigorous in the country, sometimes requiring students to do 24-hour stints in the classroom.While in school, Quinn frequently flew home on weekends to work with his clients at Piala’s Nursery. Since he graduated in 2004, Quinn won the single Award of Excellence bestowed by the Wisconsin Stone and Masonry Institute for his outstanding work in creating unique patios, retaining walls, waterfalls, and other stone and brick features in 2005. In 2006 his landscape work won first place at the Waukesha Parade of Homes.Quinn is very capable in all aspects of landscape architecture from locating a home or business to best advantage on a property and establishing a proper grading plan, before construction, to selecting and installing trees, shrubs, evergreens, and flowers, when the building is completed.

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