11/17/2021 08:30 a.m. EST
As a lifelong East Haven resident who has been building his own landscaping business since he was 16 years old, Marc Amato always wants to do what he can for the community. When Charlie Coyle and Tony Torello approached him about helping with the beautification project on the East Haven Town Green, Marc didn’t hesitate.
“They gave me a call and said they needed help to get the green ready in time for the Fall Festival,” says Marc, owner of Amato’s Landscaping. “We did four or five days of work.”
Marc and his crew planted bushes and flowers, cut out patches of grass to put in new flower beds, added fabric and mulch, and hydro seeded the outer green so that the grass would sprout in time for the Fall Festival, an event he has enjoyed since it began.
This is not the first time Marc has donated his services. One of Marc’s sisters, Laura Lynn, used to be the principal at the middle school. Seeing the disarray of the school’s courtyard, Lynn volunteered Marc to help out.
Marc cleaned up the courtyard and prepared it for improvements. The goal was to get the students involved as well so Marc prepared areas for planting and beds. He donated shovels and plants so the students could complete the project. The project resulted in the school social worker forming a garden club.
“One of the kids said it was like the SWAT team came in,” says Lynn. “It was in really bad condition, but anytime someone needs help or is sick, Marc is there to help.”
Last year, Marc brought his crew to Walmart where they purchased 1,200 toys, which were donated to the East Haven Fire Department’s annual toy drive. The toys filled a dump truck that was driven to the firehouse on Route 80.
“It feels good to know I’m helping out the kids who are less fortunate, especially during COVID at the time,” says Marc, who has three dogs. “I started last year and will be doing it every year.”
Growing up in East Haven, Marc and his older sisters, Laura Lynn and Cheryl Amato-Franco, were raised by their parents, Gabe and Louise. Marc remembers watching his father help those who were in need in a variety of ways. Their parents volunteered with their sports and their father was dedicated to his church, St. Vincent’s, which is now Our Lady of Pompeii.
Marc’s family remains close. Lynn notes that Marc was like a father figure to her children and Amato-Franco works remotely for Amato’s Landscaping from Texas and “does a great job.” One of Marc’s favorite things to do with his family is plan their annual summer vacations.
Marc also enjoys bowling, competing in a bowling league. Marc’s father taught him to bowl when he was about 13 years old and now that his father is 85, they still occasionally bowl together.
Marc’s father was also a factor in the early days of Marc’s landscaping business, which he started when he was 16 years old. He has since seen his business grow over the past 35 years.
“I started with a little lawnmower I took from my father and now I have 20 employees and 14 trucks,” says Marc, who remembers seeing his dad’s reaction the first time he saw “Amato’s Landscaping” on the first truck. “He said, ‘There’s my legacy.’ Now he’s so proud to see his name on all of those trucks.”
Marc’s business has grown to include work and landscaping on commercial projects to go along with the 280 commercial and residential lawn clients, including many who have been with him since he began his business.
“It’s been a lot of hard work, but the finished product always looked good,” says Marc.
Marc has three children with his daughters Erica and Sera both attending grad school and his son Marc in high school. Marc’s son has expressed interest in joining the family business and currently works for Amato’s Landscaping part-time.
“I told him he needs to go to college before he comes to work with me,” says Marc. “It’ll be exciting, though—like starting over again.”
Marc is happy that he had the opportunity to help in the green beautification process and is continuing to help. He is in the midst of planting 700 tulips on the green.
“The mayor did a beautiful job redoing things and it’s very different from when I was a kid going to the trolley museum,” says Marc. “It has definitely changed for the better.”