Containers of Italian Pottery on the Way!

Italian Pottery on the way to Santa Barbara

Trucks with containers heading out to Santa Barbara full of Italian Pottery!

Loading a container full of Italian pottery on a truck

Container being placed on an 18 wheeler

We place orders with the factories we work with in Italy several times a year, and even after 30 years, new shipments are exciting.  Currently, two containers are making their way to the Italian Pottery Outlet in Santa Barbara, on two different cargo ships. When the ships get to the port in Long Beach, the 40 foot containers are lifted from the ships via cranes and set upon the chassis of 18 wheelers.

40' Containers filled with Italian Ceramics

Container ship docked at the port in Long Beach getting ready to be unloaded.



The container is trucked to Santa Barbara where the Spalluto family (parents, siblings, husbands, wives, children, and wonderful employees) is waiting.  The street in front of the warehouse is blocked with cones so Joe (Spalluto) can expertly forklift the many pallets into the driveway or onto the sidewalk.


Joe playing with the forklift!



Joe manning the forklift


The first time I ever helped unpack a shipment, I stood with my box cutter and stared at the mountain of boxes with my jaw on the ground feeling faint. I’ll never forget what my dad (Ben Spalluto) told me that day, “Do not look at the piles, just focus on the box in front of you.” I now pass on this advice to any newcomers as the sight of over 400 boxes all in the same place is more than daunting..



Driveway full of boxes of Italian Pottery


Street and Sidewalk full of boxes of Italian Ceramics.

From here it is just a matter of opening the boxes, loading the carts with like items and then filling up our numerous shelves!  Each giant box is filled with numerous inner boxes or with several items wrapped in paper and tightly packed in hay, liquid foam or sandwiched between styrofoam.  We consider ourselves lucky when the pieces are marked with item numbers as often we have to rip open the paper to determine the pattern so we know where to put it.

We are teaching the new generation of Italian Pottery Outlet kids to unload shipments – they need to earn their keep!  Joe’s daughter is taking a short break while my daughters are slaving away…;)


Sweet Lena having a rest after slaving away.


Adelia and Malia hard at work…no sign of adults doing anything!


Volcanic Stone Table in the Ricco Pattern.

We buy Italian ceramics from over 30 factories from northern Italy to Sicily. Sometimes a container will be full of items from only one factory such as when we order from the factory in Sicily that supplies us with our beautiful volcanic stone tables and outdoor planters.

Most of the time we consolidate our shipments so many different types of Italian pottery from different factories are in the same container. Our warehouse at 815 E. Haley is over 3500 sq. ft. and is full of shelves that are loaded with our beautiful Italian ceramics. Depending on the size of the shipment, it takes us 3 – 5 days to open all the boxes and put the items on their designated shelves. We turn up the music and just keep moving forward until the final box is opened…

Imagine our surprise when we opened THIS box!  Our very own JACK in the box!