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Panariello to retire from Ex-Cell

New York — After nearly 30 years in the home textiles industry, John Panariello, vp of merchandising for the decorative pillow division of Ex-Cell Home Fashions, is retiring on Dec. 31.

He began his career in the home textile industry in May 1972 when he accepted a position as a sales trainee with Sure Fit Products, then moved on to custom drapery manufacturer Decorator Industries. From 1976 to 1982, he was at Park B. Smith in several capacities, from sales representative covering the New York City area to director of catalog sales.

He spent the next eight years as vp of national accounts for Dakotah, manufacturer of bedding, decorative pillows, table linens and other home textiles categories.

It was there that he met his wife, LaFaye, who was operating Dakotah's outlet stores.

In 1990, Panariello joined forces with fellow industry veteran and longtime friend Neil Zuber, who today is president of Ashford Court, to create decorative pillow manufacturer Newport. Five years later, the Layton Family bought Newport and Panariello paired up with Zuber a second time to found Portofino Pillow, a division of Perfect Fit Industries.

The business partners went at it for a third round in 1998, opening Madison Landing, an upscale decorative pillow manufacturer based in Miami, FL, and a division of Glenoit Corp.

Panariello told HTT he will look back fondly at his career and the friends he made along the way.

"I'll always cherish all the relationships I've made in this industry and all the friends I've made," Panariello said. "And in turn I hope it is my positive attitude that will be remembered by others."

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