Celebrating 25 years in business is a quite an accomplishment. But when you hear the founder of the company is only 42, you have to ask, “How did he do that?” Meet Gino Fioravanti. A River Forest native, Gino is celebrating his silver anniversary in the irrigation and landscape lighting trades.
Gino was a regular teenager growing up. He was a star on the Oak Park & River Forest High School wrestling team and got along with everyone. But he was far ahead of his classmates when it came to entrepreneurial spirit. Going into his senior year, Gino and classmate John Allegretti launched Precision Lawn Sprinklers.
“It was something we just figured out,” Gino says with a chuckle. “John and I kept doing it and doing it and we figured out how to install sprinklers on our own. Our first customer was in Palatine. We were still trying to figure out the system when we were installing our first one. But then a neighbor saw what we did and wanted a system, and our business started to grow by word of mouth.”
As their customer base increased, Gino and John began to really understand and master all the parts of a sprinkler system — electric valves, water pressure and how to water each part of a lawn separately by installing the sprinkler systems in different zones.
The duo graduated high school in 1987 and both went off to college with the perfect summer job of owning their own business. After Gino received his teaching certificate from Eastern Illinois University, he returned to OPRFHS to teach driver education and coach wrestling.
Precision Lawn Sprinklers continued to flourish, but John decided to go to law school and left the business to Gino.
“The sprinkling business was really taking off. I loved teaching and coaching, but I had to make a decision,” Gino says with a sigh. “The only way to really make the business grow was to dedicate 100 percent of my time.”
That’s when Gino decided to leave teaching and change the name of the company to reflect his Sicilian heritage.
“Precision was just a generic name,” Gino adds. “I wanted my company to reflect my last name, Fioravanti, so I came up with the name Aqua Fiori Inc.
Today, Aqua Fiori has 900 customers and 95 percent of its business comes from referrals. No matter where you go in the Chicago area, you’re likely to run across the blue Aqua Fiori logo on unique white trucks that also are a page from his heritage. These boxy-looking vehicles are everywhere in Italy.
Gino, who lives in River Forest, shares his success with his wife, Rita (nee Cumbo), and their three children, Gianna, Gino and Vince. Besides having his sprinkling business and plumbing license, Gino is a successful real estate developer, building four homes and completing 25 condominium conversions. He also started a closet business, Crafted Closets, in 2002.
“I just bought a program that shows you how to layout closets and figured it out,” Gino chuckles again.
Clearly, Gino has a knack for figuring things out.