GIARDINA GROUP’S FIFTY: THE INTERVIEW WITH STEFANO AND RICCARDO MAURI

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It is not easy to talk about the fifty years of Giardina Group, because it is a story that brings together companies and brands in an organization that currently incorporates multiple and strong experience and skills in the finishing business.

Let’s make it clear from the start: in this article, we will tell the story of a sort of “community birthday”, the intertwining destinies of many organizations that have made the history of a significant part of the Italian coating industry. Let’s start with the original creator of this story, Giampiero Mauri, who created Mauri Macchine in Carugo, near Como, in 1972. He is the fil rouge of a sequence of events that have rolled out until today. Mauri died prematurely in 2017, but he realized that there was a lot to do in Brianza about painting, inheriting stories that have intertwined and often blurred, as it always happens in these situations, acquiring and looking ahead, as a true entrepreneur. Then, in 2010, with two partners who would leave the company a few years later, he realized the dream of a lifetime and took over Giardina Finishing, a brand known all over the world. That’s the start of the most recent history, the birth and progressive rise of Giardina Group as the result of many chapters written over fifty years, bringing together a great heritage of knowledge: the heritage of Mauri Macchine, Ventilazione Italiana, Giardina Finishing, and in the past two years, also De Stefani, merging into the new Destefani specializing in edge and profile sanding.

“If we have become a global reference for coating, the merit goes to my father and the many people who helped him build his dream, but also to our capacity to combine experiences, skills and knowledge from different companies”, says Stefano Mauri, co-owner of Giardina Group with his brother Riccardo Mauri. “My brother and I have learned this lesson soon and we have implemented it effectively, expanding our business to sanding with Destefani, for instance, and launching some projects that will characterize our future. Today more than ever, making business means seizing every opportunity, just like my father did in 1972 when he decided to start his own company, or when he invested in a new larger site in Cermenate, or when he acquired Ventilazione Italiana… Companies are born and grow, and it was the same for us: we started with profile coating, but soon we began to develop finishing solutions for doors and furniture parts, for plastics and metal, building one of the most comprehensive catalogs of coating machinery and equipment, from spraying robots to booths, from excimer drying to roller and curtain coating machines, from coordinate robots to ovens of all types and sizes”.

It’s a long story to tell, but probably the most intensive period started in 2010 with the acquisition of Giardina Finishing…

“That was a major milestone, because – though being in serious trouble – Giardina was a giant compared with Mauri Macchine”, Stefano Mauri says. “Nevertheless, our father decided we had to make this step if we wanted to grow, and he was right once again. He was so smart that he put his story, our story, in the background, and left the “Giardina” brand under the spotlights, as it was known all over the world.

So, Giampiero Mauri decided to acquire Giardina Finishing from bankrupt, involving people, breathing fresh oxygen into a jewel of “Made in Italy”, merging the experience of Mauri Macchine and Ventilazione Italiana, building a team that would become the core of the future Giardina Group he had imagined and he finally created in 2012, when he took over 100 percent of the shares: now the giant belonged to the Mauri family.

“Those years were not easy”, Mauri remembers. “On one hand, there was a healthy company, though smaller and less famous; on the other, the need to revive Giardina Finishing, re-employing their people, re-organizing production, re-launching and strengthening a sales network made of people with strong experience and skills. Year after year, my brother Riccardo was increasingly involved in the enhancement of our products, while I focused on business and sales management; when my father passed away, this division of tasks turned into an organization model, moving from a family-led company to a modern industrial organization, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities”.

“Since we were kids, we have been accustomed to making hard decisions”, Stefano Mauri continues. “When our father passed away, we faced the situation and managed a transition that led us to unify all our operations in the Figino Serenza site, which is now becoming relatively narrow as a result of our growth.
We have set up a huge modern showroom that was open for just a couple of months before the pandemic outbreak, but it proved essential to deliver demos and remote tests. This facility represents what we are today, it’s a place where we display our know-how and the choices of a business projected into the world and into the future. In the same building, we have recently moved all Destefani operations, creating a single hub where our edge and profile sanders are manufactured and accessible for testing, just like all other coating solutions available at a few meters distance.
These two entities are integrated but independent, ready to generate new synergies with all market players.
Fifty years after our foundation, it is a pleasure for us to say that thel “Giampiero Mauri Innovation Centre” is not just a showcase for our coating solutions, but the hub of an integrated system that includes Destefani and will be open to more opportunities, ore partners, to show to our established customers and prospects that we can be the right partner for sanding and coating all kinds of products and materials.
Today, we have 60 employees and approximately 20 million euro revenues, with an export share above 90 percent: the Destefani experience has proved how important it is to seek collaboration, aggregation, acquisitions to keep growing. This is the driver that will guide us in the coming years in an increasingly complex industry, where you must be able to “build” new resources to carry on the experience required to develop new technological solutions.”

What about celebrations?
“We will celebrate for sure”, Stefano Mauri concludes. “We are organizing event during the Furniture Show in Mila, and then in October, when we are attending Xylexpo 2022. We believe that the success of any company largely depends on contacts, relations, confrontation, but we also believe that such relations can and must be lived in a pleasant, friendly way, sitting at a table with a glass of good Prosecco. We will certainly toast to our anniversary and the next to come!”.