The Garavaglia Brothers
They were born in Inveruno, a small town near Magenta, north of Milan: Davide in 1913 and Battista in 1915. They both moved to Milan as young men, to work selling household goods from a stand at neighborhood markets. In 1937, Battista married Ester Ghirardelli and they set up house in Milan, where for several years she ran a shop that sold housewares in Coni Zugna, at the corner with via Savona, which is still doing business today. After a few years of working the markets in Milan, the war interrupted their activities: Davide was deployed to Africa and Battista to the Russian front.
Upon their return, they decided to move from selling aluminum kitchenware to producing it, opening a small but already specialized business: Tutto per la casa (TN: Everything for the home) dei Fratelli Garavaglia, in via Solari, Milan (1950). They soon decided to build an edifice that housed both their families and the business, in via Stendhal, at no. 68 (1953), and acquired good clients, both in Italy and abroad (Standa department stores, Priba chain stores in Belgium, Nouvelle Gallerie in France, Vroom and Dressman in Holland and Woolworth’s in the UK). With the consequent increase in production, the brothers decided to transfer their business to Corsico, at no, 8 via Carducci (1955), changing the company name to “TUTTO PER LA CASA snc”. Their products, steadily improving in quality, were now made of stainless steel, an alloy developed and marketed only recently. Those years, the ‘50s and ‘60s, saw rapid growth that led to a business transformation, from an artisanal model to an industrial one, more rationally organized. Italy and its entrepreneurs were in the midst of the famous “economic boom” of the ‘60s. Davide Garavaglia, the elder of the two brothers, died prematurely in 1965, and his son, Ennio, joined his uncle Battista in the management of Tutto per la Casa. In these years, for a variety of environmental and economic motives, a new company – ICIT srl – was formed at no. 10 via Carducci, in Corsico, and later to its move to no. 23 via Lomellina, in Buccinasco (1970).
In the ‘70s, important foreign groups became clients, considerably augmenting the production of household goods in stainless steel. New business branches were opened and a partnership was formed with the new clients (the Fissler Group, in Germany).
The companies formed as a result of this initiative included the participation of AMC International, a Swiss commercial group that partnered with the Garavaglia group. Extremely modern and automated production lines were installed to meet the substantial needs of these groups. Some of the companies founded with the AMC group were, in addition to ICIT, CISA SpA, in Passirana di Rho, which produced kitchenware, and Inox SILGA SpA, which produced trays and kitchen accessories, also in stainless steel, just to name a few.
Meanwhile, Battista Garavaglia had formed a new company,GAMAR, for the production of lighting equipment. The company was founded in 1958, at no. 27-29 via Parini, Corsico, in partnership with his uncle, Angelo Mariani. After a few years, the partnership was terminated and in 1967 the company became SILGA, concurrently with the entry of Battista’s son Fulvio, then in his twenties and at university.
The ‘70s extended the good life in Italy and in Europe, but they also saw the first social unrest and energy crises, with consequent increases in the cost of labor and raw materials.
SILGA, which had moved to no. 15 via Veneto, in Buccinasco, faced years of difficult organizational, production and financial challenges, from which it emerged successfully in the mid-seventies, and entered the eighties in good health, ready to tackle what the future would bring.
In 1983, after a brief illness, Battista Garavaglia, the founder of numerous companies and the driving force behind new industrial ventures, died, leaving his son Fulvio, now 36, in charge of managing the companies co-owned with AMC International (CISA, ICIT and Inox SILGA), in addition to SILGA. Fulvio had been at the helm of the latter company since its founding, but he was now joined by his brothers in law Giorgio and Nico, who took over as technical directors, Giorgio for CISA and Nico for ICIT, while Claudio remained production manager of Inox SILGA. This management structure and organization remained unchanged until the first years of the ‘90s, when two important events occurred for the Garavaglia family and their businesses. The first was the ceding of “TUTTO PER LA CASA”, managed and led after Battista’s demise by Ennio Garavaglia, with the relinquishing of their shares by all the Garavaglia families and the consequent changing of the company name to “TUTTO”. The second was the breakup of the partnership with AMC International.
ICIT, CISA and Inox SILGA were ceded to AMC International in the early ‘90s, while SILGA remained in the hands of the Garavaglia family.
The Garavaglias and the Fisslers went their separate ways, but they continued to collaborate when the circumstances called for it.
The in-laws Giorgio and Nico, along with cousin Claudio, joined SILGA after the breakup with AMC International, and continued to exercise their functions, following Fulvio Garavaglia’s business venture.
1990 also saw the start of an important alliance for SILGA, with a prominent personage in direct sales of kitchen cookware in Eastern Europe (the Berlin wall had fallen in 1989), Mr. Milan Jankovic, president of ZEPTER International, who quickly became one of SILGA’s most important clients and remained so for the next twenty years and more. In addition to the core products, the ever-popular SILGA sets in stainless steel, ideal for cooking without water and fats, he was offered and then collaborated in developing other important items, like the Synchro-clik pressure-cooking lid and the Magic harmony glasses, patented by SYNCHRONA. In 1992 SILGA also began working with Rösle, an important company in the MARKTOBERDORF, in Oberallgau, Bavaria. SILGA’s TEKNIKA line, robust and elegant, quickly became a part of Rösle’s product offering, which featured highly specialized items with distinctive design, and was distributed in a vast network throughout Germany and Europe. TEKNIKA, by SILGA, and Ŏffene Küche constituted an inseparable couple for more than 20 years.
In 1995, the hotel sector, which SILGA had entered in the ‘80s with the brands EUROSILGA (heavier utensils) and EUROELLE (lighter goods) began to attract the interest of the FISSLER Group, which acquired customers in Germany and Austria. In 1981, SILGA had invested considerable capital in a production site in Mazzo di Rho, precisely for the making of equipment for hotel kitchens and for EU-destined articles in general.
In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, SILGA decided to penetrate distant and complicated markets in the Far East, such as Korea, Taiwan and Japan, and participated in trade shows in Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Today, it still supplies these markets, as the design of the items and the excellent reputation of Made in Italy goods are recipes for success in these countries.
SILGA products also sell well in Brazil, the United States and Canada, where they are widely distributed. The company has made good friends in these countries, like Mario Bianchi, general manager of TRAMONTINA Brazil, regrettably recently deceased, and Antonio Galafassi, CEO of TRAMONTINA Houston. TRAMONTINIA has managed to retain its Italian roots despite the fact that many years have passed since it was founded by an Italian family.
We should keep in mind that towards the end of the first decade of the new millennium, Europe and the world entered a serious financial crisis, which quickly dampened consumer spending worldwide and consequently slowing industrial production. Recovery has been slow and difficult, and industries are still suffering its effects several years later.
In 2007 our family was notified of the closing of “TUTTO”, whitch had moved from Corsico to Buccinasco. Although it had no economic repercussions, the news was discouraging to all the Garavaglias, as it was the first business venture the Garavaglia brothers had opened, back in 1946, and some members still collaborated with the company.
It should be kept in mind that after the fall of the Berlin wall, SILGA had rapidly tried to penetrate the emerging markets of Eastern Europe, unknown territory until then, by participating in trade shows in Moscow and Czechoslovakia. After a few years, Poland’s market showed surprising strength, and became the leading market for us in the area. In fact, the event of the year in 2000 was a meeting with two young men from Warsaw, personable and entrepreneurially minded, with whom after a few years of collaboration we formed a partnership that led, in a short time, to our becoming market leaders in Poland.
The EKOLOGA line, created by SILGA many years before for direct sales but still very much in step with the times (cooking without water or fats), perfectly met the needs of the founder of PHILIPIAK, Tomasz Filipiak, and his markets, and quickly became a well-known and widely distributed set throughout Poland.
Piotr Starzyk, the other Polish young man from Warsaw and a key collaborator of Tomek, is considered by us the fundamental “liaison” between PHILIPIAK and SILGA, and in part thanks to him the two companies have always managed to find common ground to develop new projects and improve existing ones.
At this juncture, all we can do is express our deep satisfaction with the way our story has unfolded and our justified optimism that the future will continue to be bright, despite the uncertainty of the present moment.
Supplier of pots and pans for party system sales organizations, customized.