Cato’s Army & Navy opened in November of 1975. Tony and Marion Veneziano took a risk and opened a men’s clothing store that year even though neither had worked in retail before. For more than 10 years, Tony had delivered oil for Exxon, then located on Freeman Street, Greenpoint, so he knew the neighborhood well. Marion had been raising a family since 1955. This would mark her return to the business world. Together they developed what would become one of Greenpoint’s most enduring retail stores.
The early days at Cato’s were very different than today. Most new retailers purchased their goods at jobbers on the Lower East Side. Every Sunday, Marion and Tony would trek into the city to buy what they thought would sell that week. As they became established business owners, sales people came to them. Year after year, Tony and Marion grew their business, adding labels such as Levi, Wrangler and Dickie. Together with a small sales staff, Cato’s took care of Greenpoint’s men’s casual clothing needs.
They weren’t however, only interested in building their business. They were supportive of their community, donating to many Greenpoint Organizations. The Lions Club, The Greenpoint Memorial Day Parade, St Stan’s Athletic League could always count on Cato’s. For example, between 1990 and 2002, Cato’s was one of the sponsors of St Stan’s Athletic League. For 29 years Tony and Marion built their business and supported their community. In 2004, Tony passed away after a brief illness. His son Edward, looking for a new career opportunity, decided to join his Mom and pick up where his father left off. And so, 2010 marks Cato’s 35th year of continuous operation in Greenpoint.