Guglielmo coffee – A coffee and an interview with Daniele Rossi, managing director and owner of Guglielmo S.p.A.
Vincenzo, go and buy coffee…
There are stories in Calabria that are fascinating and have a peculiar taste: rich in history, able to make you proud. Walking in to the Guglielmo s.p.a the first thing I said was “It looks like a Milanese company from the 80s!”. Those amazing stories you can breathe, like the smell of the coffee that Daniele Rossi has been bringing to the world’s tables since 1943.
Daniele, this company was born in a faraway past, why do not you tell us about it?
My grandfather Guglielmo founded it in 1943; we are talking about the times of World War II. You can imagine what Calabria was during the war. The site where we are now was inaugurated in 1971.
Who was Guglielmo Papaleo?
My grandfather was a dreamer. He had ideas that were ahead of times of about 30/40 years. It was amazing. He was a very humble person, very modest and helped people a lot. Since he has his first food stores, he helped a lot those in need. Then he bought his first 5kg coffee toaster…
A beauty lover, he use to decorate his shop windows.
It looks like this is something that remains, in these offices there is a lot of art.
Yes, he used to say, “You must eat with your eyes”
Who taught you what you know?
My grandfather first, I was like a son to him. Out of all the other nephews, since I was born in Calabria, I was always with him. I remember when I used to go home with a strong smell of coffee on my clothes. This is the real memory I have of him, the biggest of all lessons.
What do you see of him in you?
Humility. It is something he managed to transmit to the entire family.
An element that made a difference in the company since you are in charge?
Well you see… he passed away in 2003. In 16 years things chance. The company could have filed. Together with my uncle and cousin, we worked well in staying on the right path. Small steps, never overdo. This way we opened our stores and started selling coffee online.
President of Confindustria Catanzaro and vice president of the region. What does this mean to you?
Well, I have started a path with confindustria since I was 20. President of young industrials 2006-2009- The nomination at Catanzaro’s Confindustria arrived in 2013 and is giving me many satisfactions.
How do Confindustria and Guglielmo contribute to the territory?
Enterprise does not exist without link to land. Land is what gives you wellbeing. Not only to you, but also to who works with you. We do a lot for our land in terms of occupation but also cultural and social support, and social is a very important thing to us. Recently 19 students of Catanzaro’s Academy of Belle Arti came here. They visited the company and created works on the world of coffee. Regarding Confindustria, there has been a blight in the years of crisis and there is a lot to do.
How much made in Italy is there in Guglielmo?
53 workers; it is a company of young Italians. We have now used the advantages given by the “Jobs act” and the warranty for young people. For 6 months, young Italians will work with us. We are counting and hoping to hire them. Then, above all, I should say Made in Calabria. For us Calabria is a strength, not a weakness.
Because there are many Calabrian people in the world. 1.800.00 in Calabria and over 10 million in the world. Calabrian people give value to our product.
What do you feel like saying to all the young Calabrian people who have an idea but do not know how to make it real?
I think that young Calabrian people have many problems but I also think that they have been a bit lazy as well and it is time to stop. In the moment they have a small opportunity, they must take it. I have proof they have not.
The rule “when there are no jobs you must make one up”.
Absolutely. There are so many problems, money problems, environmental problems, social problems but you cannot just hide behind them. When there is even a minimum chance of doing something and you do not do it, it means there is another problem.
Therefore, the message is “Let’s work for it”
….I was a child and my grandmother from Calabria used to drink only Guglielmo coffee. I bought it for her for so many years, and this last coffee I had with Daniele is dedicated to her.
Photo credit: Lucia Franco