It all started with Gustavo Cosaro and Mario Tagliati. They survived poverty and stints in orphanages in post-war Italy and these struggles taught them the true value of the freedom to let loose and have a good time. They met working in the dining rooms of cruise ships, but they started their business right here in the picnic capital of the world, sunny Southern California, which we call home to this day.
In 1975, Woodland Hills, Calif., Gustavo and Mario opened “Two Gentlemen from Verona” (Wine + Cheese + Shakespeare? Sure!) Their goal was to provide great wine, quality cheese, and fun, friendly service. As the store grew and expanded its offerings, they started to hear one question more than any other: “You have all the supplies for a perfect picnic. Do you have a basket we could put this in?”
But at that time, nobody was making a picnic basket that met their standards. If nobody was doing it right, Gustavo and Mario would do it themselves. Six months and several trips across the Pacific later, our two global circumnavigators unloaded a container of empty, hand-woven baskets into Gustavo’s garage. After recruiting some family members to sew napkins and tablecloths, Picnic Time was born.
Sales began locally in the shop; over time they grew regionally and then nationally through trade shows and rapid word of mouth. When the dynamic duo outgrew the garage, they closed their wine and cheese shop and moved into a warehouse in Moorpark, Calif., where they could put all their focus on picnicking.