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It’s such an incredible story that could become the plot of a movie.
The male lead actor is called Giovanni Cacciolo Molica and is flanked by his inseparable half Gabriella Grismondi in the lead female’s role.
Together they founded the Orobica Pesca fifty years ago, becoming one of the business cases of the territory with the most successful, starting simply with a fish shop of 40m² until to become a great company.
The beginning and the distrust of Bergamo. «When I left Patti, in the province of Messina (Sicily), I was 16: I moved here because I wanted to be a mechanic – starts telling Mr. Cacciolo – initially I was in Milan and then I moved to Bergamo. I remember that I met Virgilio Grismondi, the father of Gabriella, in the workshop: one day while I was repairing his truck, I saw his daughter. It was a bad encounter: I thought she was unpleasant and that she did not want to have anything to do with me. After two months we got engaged and now we are still together». An adventurous and romantic beginning at the same time, that indelibly marked his history (and that of our city). Yes, because at the time, Virgilio had a fish shop in via Bianzana, but he had no one willing to give him a hand: «They were difficult years: In Bergamo there was no fish culture, people ate only the bertagnì (salt cod) or the dogfish cooked in lard but it was just frozen emery – explains the owner of Orobica Pesca, with the sly smile of one who made it -. My father in law was in difficulty in finding local workers because there was the prejudice that «ol pèss li spössa» (the fish stinks) and so, before opening my mechanical workshop, I decided to go help him for a month.»
The fatigue and the first important clients. After that month of aid Mr. Cacciolo took over the store and he began a career which forever changed the way of eating of Bergamo’s people. «It was the 1965: I used to wake up in the night at 1 o’clock to take the fish in Chioggia and then I went back. Over time I started to go farther and farther away: I bought and sold, I went to Sardinia, I stopped in Puglia and then down till the Sicily – says Mr. Giovanni – I slept two hours a night. Sometimes happened to stop my vehicle on the street because I could not remember my destination: so I opened the van’s door and I looked at the load and the type of fish that I carried to understand where I had to go». His great intuition was to understand that the fish is not all equal and that if a certain type of fish is required in Genova, not necessarily is required also in Cagliari or in Bergamo. For each fish, its market. And Giovanni, tireless, was not confined to the bulk purchase and to the resale, but he followed all the steps, from the producer to the consumer: « I asked to some restaurants to supply them. I started to bring fresh fish to Pio, to the Menarini restaurant, Da Mimmo in the upper town and to Da Vittorio. Initially only two days a week, then three, then four and more and more away». Orobica Pesca today supplies 1800 restaurants worldwide with even a restaurant in the Maldives.
The quality, the techniques and controls. Specialized in Mediterranean fish trade, we treat about 600 different types, all controlled before being subject to the sale. The quality, for Orobica Pesca, means providing food products that constantly meet the requirements legal and sensorial, it means guaranteeing and ensuring the products from the point of view of hygiene, means ensuring the cold chain throughout the supply chain and also means providing a constant consulting and home delivery service, as the Company is at the forefront and able to adapt to changes. In half a century of experience, they have carefully selected suppliers and products, making continual and scrupulous inspections, chemical and microbiological checks and hygiene and freshness tests to guarantee the healthiness of products. All employees are trained with specific courses depending of the departments, with great attention to hygiene rules and the correct methods of food conservation.
That is why we have in the company, full-time, two graduates in Science, Food Technology and Veterinary Medicine, that constantly verify the correct application of company procedures by the employees and that collaborate with an external analysis laboratory, accredited by the Ministry of Health, for the monitoring of chemical and microbiological parameters on all surfaces, on the equipments and on food products. Even though convinced that already being offered a top-quality product, the holder has also asked to an external certification agency to control the entire management system to certify the quality company status, in compliance with the norm UNI EN ISO 9001:2008. «Yes, but how difficult it was to get here – reveal the owner -. In the seventies there was cholera: People were convinced that it came from the sea and that therefore the fishes really were carriers. I had to fight to make it clear that it was not so and that the fish served by me was genuine..». After passing these hard times thanks to the quality strength, pursued anyway, a strong entrepreneurial spirit has resulted Mr. Cacciolo Molica to anticipate the times, using for first in Bergamo the refrigerated truck with separated temperatures.
The growing success and the daily confirmations. «At age 36, I was appointed Knight Of The Republic, at age 45 Commendatore, at age 65 I was awarded of the title of Grand Officer Of The Republic» proudly lists his medals of merit. And Mr. Cacciolo, born in 1939, has deserved every little and big victory conquering all that has done with the sweat of the brow. «Do you know I’ve only the fifth grade? – suddenly he says -. I’ve always worked and even now Orobica Pesca is in action 24 hours a day. In addition to the original headquarters in Bianzana street at the 21, we expanded to include even Bianzana street at the 19, we bought a warehouse of more than 1000m² in Rota street and we opened other points of sale in IV Novembre street (Bergamo), in Clusone, in Treviglio and in Capriate. From some years we offer the cash&carry service that covers an area of 2000m², for one third occupied from fresh fish, another third from frozen products and finally other various fresh products from fish, meat, dairy products, pastries product, fruit and vegetables. Recently we also have renovated the store in Bianzana street. Because the company is like a jealous lover: if you neglect it, It ruins you…».
The customers, the numbers and those who work. With this nice similitude, Giovanni Cacciolo Molica anticipates his creed: just do what you want to do and do it in the best way. «For me there is no customer more important than another one, I treat everyone equally – then claims, and thinking about his history and from where he started, you can believe it without a doubt! – I’m retired now, but I decided to pay the contributions, because I want to be free to do whatever I want, even to serve customers». A life devoted to work that of Giovanni and Gabriella, who will pass the company’s baton to their three children: Cristina, now engaged in the purchasing department, Franca in the management control and Matteo in the direction of the retail shops. Other essential figures to the proper functioning of the business are Ottavio Duzioni that manages the cash & carry service for restaurants and the purchases of fresh fish, Fabrizio Bonifaccio that is the general director of Orobica Pesca and manages all the sales agents, Fabio Rauzzino that manages the logistics, Tiziana Casali engages in the quality control and every one of approximately 80 employees of Orobica Pesca which perform their assignments with passion and professionalism. «All together, we will serve approximately 2000 professionals of food industry (including restaurants, hotels, pizzerias, bar, canteens, catering…) and about 7000 customers a week – are the last recorded data, reported by Dr. Casali – and Mr. Cacciolo Molica still manages the company’s maintenance and every day at 3.30 he’s ready for the first round of deliveries. «Now it’s a luxury – he concludes – when I was young and I woke up at 1 o’clock, was definitely much more hard» And this is the temperament of the worker, destined to be handed down to posterity as one of the brightest examples of good Italian entrepreneurship. (Marianna Peluso-BGPost)