A good example is Alpin 57 Lux, a company owned by Ioan Istrate and his wife Paraschiva, which celebrated in 2014 its 20th “birthday”. Born and raised in a family from Sibiu, Ioan Istrate started his ice cream business in 1993. “I have begun «from the bottom». In 1993, I started with an ice cream machine, and in the following year I have founded Alpin 57 Lux. Since 1996 we are among the Alba County’s performers. During the years, we have received over 150 prizes and diplomas”, said the businessman.
After the first four years, the Istrates managed to buy their first ice cream technological line. Since that moment, the company passed through several investments and upgrading periods and today it operates on a 30,000 square metres facility, one of the biggest and most modern such factories in Romania.
From ice cream to millions
Ioan Istrate explains how he involved all of his family in his business. His two children and the son in law currently work for the company. “I run a family business. My daughter, a law school graduate, administrates the quality management system. My son in law and my son, who is a management graduate, take care of everything related to transport and logistics”, revealed the businessman. He plans to leave the company to his children, but doesn’t rule out an exit.
Alpin 57 Lux owns a 260 vehicles fleet, 23 shops all over the country and a Bucharest branch. Taking into account that ice cream is still a seasonal product in Romania, the Istrates had started to diversify their production since more than 10 years. In 2001 they inaugurated a frozen pastry department, the Romcherie pastry dough and mini-rolls being among the most famous products. Three years ago, they also launched a brand of frozen vegetables. This way Alpin 57 Lux had reached over 550 employees during the last summer, while in the winter it still maintains over 400 employees.
In 2013 the company owned by the Istrates had reached a 14.7 million euros turnover and a net profit of almost one million euro. The financial results made Alpin 57 Lux the third biggest ice cream manufacturer in Romania. Ioan Istrate is proud that he remained years in a row among the market leaders, even if among his competitors there are famous foreign companies.
A hotel downtown
The Istrates were confident in their home town’s development potential, so that a few years ago they invested in tourism, becoming one of the main players on the Sebes accommodation market. Ioan and Paraschiva own the Golden Lion (Leul de Aur) hotel, its building also hosting a small commercial centre. The four-star hotel has 48 rooms and since October the owners opened there a new restaurant. The complex also comprises several stores, a winery, a pharmacy, a bank and one of the four exchange offices operated by the Istrates.