In this high-paced world dominated by multinationals, it has become a challenge for companies to remain loyal to their values and family history. For that reason, Grondona is proud to be elected as a Henokiens Association member. “A member of Heno-what?”, you might ask. Well, you did read it correctly though: ‘The Henokiens’ or ‘Les Hénokiens’, as the original name sounds in French, is the association of family businesses and bicentenary companies.
What makes Grondona a Henokiens?
Membership to the Henokiens Association is based on company longevity (the minimum period of existence is 200 years) and permanence (the family must be the owner or majority shareholder of the company and one member of the founding family must still manage the company or be a member of the board). Furthermore, the company must be in good financial health and up-to-date.
No surprise Grondona was selected to be an association member. 200 years ago Giuseppe Grondona founded the company that still proudly carries his name as we speak. For 2 centuries, Grondona family members steadily built the company with respect for succession, tradition and family values, never cutting corners to make a quick profit: the soul of a real Henokiens.
Where does the name ‘Henokiens’ come from?
In 1981, the idea of creating an association of bicentenary family businesses came from the Chairman of Marie Brizard, Gerard Glotin. He decided to place it under the aegis of Henok (or Enoch), a name from the Bible. Enoch, one of the greatest Biblical patriarchs, lived before the Great Flood and reached the age of 365 when he was taken from this planet by God himself due to the wickedness on the earth. Because of his old age and strict loyalty to his values, even during difficult times, Enoch lives on to be an inspiring example for companies like Grondona today.
51 remarkable companies with a fascinating history
After a year of research and with the help of 164 Chambers of Commerce and 25 embassy attachés, Gerald Glotin was able to identify 74 companies that met the criteria. From this, a selection of approximately 30 was made. Since then, Henokiens meet each year in a different country for their General Meeting. Today, there are 51 members including 13 Italian, 15 French, 10 Japanese, 4 German, 3 Swiss, 2 Dutch, 2 Belgian, 1 English, and 1 Austrian. The Henokiens Association members are led by talented and dynamic managers and are involved in highly diversified sectors including aircraft, trade, services, publishing, food, and heavy industry.
Each of the companies has a fascinating history. At times, as is the case for Grondona, these involve legendary characters and industrial adventures that could serve as a source of inspiration for literature, television, or film. Despite or perhaps because of their illustrious ancestors, Henokiens are deeply rooted in the economic realities of the present and they manage their companies with talent, navigating between modernism and tradition, between know-how transmitted from the past and innovation towards the future.
The rich history of Grondona
Most of the time, we prefer to talk about the future, about how innovating our production process will help staying true to tradition for example. However, this is the perfect context to share with you our amazing history. In 1825, a man who performed hard labor every day in his flour mill factory carefully studied the various uses and purposes of flour and yeast. That man was called Giuseppe Grondona and he heralded the beginning of an extraordinary Italian entrepreneurial story.
When Giuseppe was succeeded by Francesco Grondona in 1850, the production of bread and pasta also made its entry into the factory, enabling the family business to grow rapidly. Although more precise knowledge about flour and yeast was gained under Francesco’s leadership, it was with the arrival of his successor Orlando Grondona that the history of the family business would change forever. In 1920, Orlando began writing down simple but timeless biscotti family recipes in a small notebook that still serve as the starting point for the delicacies we all know and cherish today. Insights about the different techniques of mixing, cooking, and maintaining the mother yeast were also included in Orlando’s notebook as he kept collecting culinary secrets and observations from local housewives who took him into confidence.
What follows this period of invaluable and foundational knowledge are 200 years of honoring the Grondona legacy with the utmost awe. However – just like the mother yeast we work with – we consider our family history as an everchanging living organism that does not remain stuck in time. Not only is our history therefore based on tradition, but also on relevant research. We make it our mission to further enrich something that is already great for our children and the generations that follow. In order to continue pursuing excellence, we keep ourselves occupied exploring new flavours and raw materials from all over the world. We patiently wait for the best harvests of ingredients and never force ourselves to make hasty decisions. Only this way, we can always guarantee the best quality – the same quality Giuseppe, Francesco, and Orlando Grondona always aspired to bring to the table.
A true honor for Grondona
Because of their extraordinary longevity, Henokiens Association members are an exception to the economic landscape. The specific characteristics of their respective backgrounds, the common values which unite them, such as respect for product quality and human relationships, know-how transmitted with passion from generation to generation, and the continuous questioning of achievements, all constitute a message of hope for all family businesses. We are proud to be among this international group of unique and inspiring companies because we love our history, and even more because we believe in our future. At Grondona, we are unwilling to rest on our laurels and are constantly striving to achieve more than previous generations. The fact that the development of our brand and company has been continuous makes us a true Henokiens, something we are very proud about.
Our strong resolve to move forward as a family-led business
Throughout the world, the value of the concept of family businesses as a viable alternative to multinational corporations cannot be underestimated. We are convinced that being loyal to our rich history and integer family values will keep resulting in business growth, with respect for people, tradition, ingredients, and the environment. It is our strong resolve to continue living up to the name of ‘Les Hénokiens’.