An Unlikely Start
How does a former Air Force pilot find himself at the head of an arts and crafts empire? During WWII, Pat Catanzarite – better known as Pat Catan – served under both the War Manpower Commission and the precursor to NASA, including a stint as a ground instructor at an aeronautics school in Maine.
When he returned home to Ohio, Pat opened a display and props service that worked with Cleveland department stores like Higbee’s, Halle’s, Linders and Rosenbloom to supply window decorations for their stores.
Pat’s successful display company, coupled with his own personal interests in designing toys and jewelry, led to the opening of his first craft supply store in 1954. Pat opened the 600 square foot store, which he called Lamrite, at E. 131st Street and Miles Avenue in Cleveland with just $200.
At Lamrite, Pat focused mostly on selling plastic artificial flowers. His big break came when a supplier of an imported wood fiber, which could be dyed and made into artificial flowers, gave him the exclusive rights to market the material to half of the country.
Boosted by his new, exclusive product, Pat opened a second store in the Old Brooklyn community of Cleveland. As business swelled, he began to add more do-it-yourself craft supplies and fine art products to his store shelves. By the mid-1970s Pat had opened six or seven more stores in the Cleveland area, with no signs of slowing down.
Pat also developed a craft supply wholesale business alongside his thriving retail stores. He named the wholesale business Darice – a combination of his kids’ names, which illustrates Pat’s lifelong emphasis on the importance of family. Many of Pat’s children and grandchildren have followed him into the family business over the years. They have each found their niche within the Darice wholesale business, the corporate headquarters, or the network of Pat Catan’s retail stores.
Pat Catan's Today
Today, the craft supply retail business that Pat Catan began on 131st and Miles has expanded to serve communities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia and Indiana. The name has evolved over the years from Lamrite, to Pat Catan’s Lamrite, to just Pat Catan’s.
What remains constant are the Catan family values of hard work, innovation and excellent customer service. You will see those values on display every day, along with all of the affordable craft supplies you need, in our 34 Pat Catan’s Craft Centers.