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Viola Homes
The Classic American Success Story

Cosmo Viola believed that the time had come to retire and leave the family homebuilding business in the very capable hands of his son Dan, president of Viola Homes. But what you don't know is that the word retirement has a whole different meaning to Cosmo than it does to most people. Now that he is retired, he comes to the job site a little later and goes home a little earlier. While at the job site, he can choose the jobs he enjoys doing. This includes, but is not limited to, operating the bulldozer and backhoe. He also makes it a point to keep up with the progress of each new home under construction. On occasion, he will go to lunch with his friends or take an afternoon to play golf. This is what he considers retirement. He has always had a high work ethic and taken great pride in everything he has done. He doesn't view his business as work. He enjoys everything about it.

If you're looking for a classic success story, this is it. Born in Gaeta, Italy, Cosmo came to Rochester in 1951 at the age of eighteen. His only contact here was his uncle who had immigrated to America several years earlier. Cosmo did not speak or understand a word of English. He began working as a laborer in construction and attended night school to learn the language. Within four years, Cosmo had become a mason contractor and was taking courses in architectural drawing at RIT night school. By 1958, he built his first home. Over the next 40-plus years, Viola Homes became one of the major builders/ developers on Rochester's east side. This year, the company plans to build 12–15 homes priced at $220,000 and higher.

Dan Viola is very much like his father. He too enjoys the trade he has learned from his dad. He began sweeping and picking up scraps at the age of six. As a teenager, he mastered every job involved in the construction of a home. Following high school, he continued his education at Niagara University where he obtained a degree in both Management and Marketing. After graduation, his sole desire was to return home and start building. In 1988, he became President of Viola Homes, Inc. Dan however, is not the only successful child in the family. Cosmo has another son who chose to become an Ophthalmologist and also practices in the Rochester area. Additionally, his youngest child, Linda, is an accountant and handles all of the financial aspects of the family business.

During the 1980s, Viola Homes developed the seventy home neighborhood known as Pinebrook Heights in Penfield. In addition, they also constructed 106 town homes and an office building called The Strand located in Webster. In 1991, Viola Homes began developing a new neighborhood, Silverwoods Subdivision, which consists of 132 lots and is located in the Town of Penfield. Host to Homearama 2000, this development is about half complete and offers residents a number of extra amenities. Each house has a dusk activated post light to make the streets safe and inviting during the night. Cosmo donated fourteen acres of the original parcel to the Town of Penfield, which has been developed to appear as parkland. Mature trees have been preserved and an existing pond was enhanced to add visual appeal to the development.

Why choose a Viola home? What makes a Viola home stand out from the rest? Dan's answer to that is, "The quality of the materials and construction that go into the home are above average." Standard features in a Viola home include Wood Mode kitchens, ceramic tile, poured concrete walks, plywood instead of composites, extensive wood trim and Andersen windows. Viola homeowners are smart, conscientious buyers who look beyond the cosmetics and the sales hype. They recognize the value in the quality that is built into a home. During a conversation with Dan, he made the following statement, "There is nothing we can't or won't do for a customer if it is physically possible. We've done everything from an indoor, in ground pool to fiber optics, home networks and home automation." If you have an idea, Cosmo and Dan can help make that idea become a reality.

Homebuyers have the option of reviewing different plans maintained by the Viola's. With so many plans available to choose from, most customers find one that they prefer. They are also given the option of working with an architect to personalize the plan. After the customer has finalized the plan, they are then directed toward a specialist with each supplier so they can choose which selections they would like in their home. Dealing directly with the suppliers allows the customer to have access to the widest selection and the product information available.

Dan takes the quality of his homes very seriously. He is on site every day to ensure that every step in the construction process meets the company's standards. Dan feels it is important to be able to oversee every aspect, every day and for that reason, he chooses not to build off-site. The time lost in traveling to different locations might hinder the building process thus losing some of the quality he takes such pride in. Although construction of the home may be complete, this is not the end of the process. Each home will have a lawn, shrubbery, driveway, front walk, and other above standard finishing touches. When moving into a new home built by Viola Homes, Dan states, "all you need are your clothes and food. The house is ready to live in."

Cosmo Viola has been awarded the opportunity of have his dream come true. When he came to this country, he came with two things in mind – his ability to learn and his desire to succeed. He hasn't forgotten about his hometown. He returns to Gaeta on an annual basis to see the family he left behind. He takes great pride in what he has accomplished and sees himself as a man who has been blessed with a wonderful family. For it is his family that will continue to maintain the vision he began all those years ago. As for retirement, that's not an option. Cosmo doesn't refer to homebuilding as work. He refers to it as making a living being able to do something that he loves.