- Sunday, 28 May 2023
- Global Economy
Strong Wash, a Georgian company involved in the production and distribution of auto chemicals, installation of car washes, and sale of high-pressure washing machines, will expand with two new branches in the cities of Kutaisi and Batumi.
The company also plans to launch a new factory to increase its production capacity.
“In order to expand we have started the construction of a new factory which will be equipped with modern technologies and equipment,” Director of the company Shota Metreveli said.
In this interview with Golden Brand, Metreveli reviews the company’s operations on the Georgian market and shares his impressions of winning the Golden Brand award for the first time this year.
Q. In the category “favorite washing machines and service” Strong Wash has become Georgian customers’ top pick. What led the company to this recognition, in your opinion?
A. Our company is focused on providing quality services. Strong Wash provides maximum comfort to its customers.
Each laundry machine we install is innovative and adapted to modern challenges. I think that's why we won the Gold Brand Award.
Q. Golden Brand is given to companies based on the successful activities of the previous year. Please summarize 2022.
A. 2022 was a year full of challenges and at the same time many successful developments for Strong Wash. Despite big competition, the company was able to maintain its status of leading company of the year, so we believe that 2022 was a productive and experience-building year for our team.
Q. You mentioned that Strong Wash maintained its position of market leader in 2022. The company was established in 2020. How have you managed to achieve the leading position in such a short period of time?
A. Strong Wash appeared in 2020. At first we were involved only in installing car wash equipment with local purchases, but after earning customers’ trust in a short period of time, local purchases were no longer enough and we decided to start importing goods.
And we started the production of auto chemicals. Our company is a manufacturer of auto chemicals, auto shampoo and other car care products. These products are made with raw materials and technology of Italian origin.
At this stage the company owns two stores, in Tbilisi and Gori, with a distribution network throughout Georgia.
As for your question, I would say that offering quality products and justifying the expectations of the customers helped our company to gain first the trust and then love of our customers, which helped us to beat the competition and take the lead.
Q. Please introduce us to the international brands with which Strong Wash cooperates.
A. In Georgia we are the official representatives of the largest Turkish company Taha Wash, the Italian brand Hawk, which is the world's top manufacturer of pump equipment.
We also cooperate with R+M and GS.
Being the largest manufacturers of auto chemicals and auto equipment enables us to make it easy to cooperate with international brands and gain their trust.
Q. Strong Wash has become the “leading company of the year” at the international awards of the Swiss Rating Association and the National Business Ratings Union. Can you tell us what the market share of the company is?
A. Our team earned the status of leading company of the year as a result of hard work.
Currently we enjoy about 50% of the market share.
Our advantage is that the team is composed of professionals and the company is focused on product quality.
We also have active communication with our individual customers, which means talking openly about solving any issue or problem at any time.
Q. You signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Solidarity Fund of Georgia to help children defeat cancer. Why did you choose this charity?
A. Incidence of cancer has increased significantly in the world, and our country is no exception.
These children and adolescents have treatment costs that cannot easily be met given our country’s economic situation.
Regarding the question of why we decided to cooperate with the Solidarity Fund, the answer is very simple — we want to contribute to the recovery of each child with cancer. The Solidarity Fund is one of the largest such charities.
Helping children live happy and healthy lives in turn makes us happy.Read more
- Sunday, 28 May 2023
- Personal Finance
To meet the brand’s growing demand, Georgian sunflower seed company Solari is expanding its product portfolio with packaged almonds and peanuts for snacking for the local and export markets.
General Director of Solari, Iuri Tkebuchava, told Golden Brand that product testing started in May, and if the new products prove their viability they will be sold on the local market and later on the European.
“Hopefully our new products, like the traditional, will also satisfy customers, and we will occupy a worthy place in the Georgian market, giving us incentive to enter the European market," Tkebuchava said.
In the meantime Solari produces three types of sunflower seeds – roasted; salty roasted; and
shelled, roasted seeds. The company uses locally produced raw materials.
Solari has been operating on the Georgian market since 2014, when it first introduced roasted sunflower seeds.
Q. In order to produce a new line of products Solari has acquired a new factory, which would be the second in Tbilisi. Is the factory currently operational?
A. The space was not in accordance with the standards and useful for the purpose for which the company needed it, so we had to do a lot of construction and repair. At the moment, 80% of that work has been completed.
We have installed a cold storage area for storing products, arranged communications both on the internal and external perimeter, rigged up production elevators, etc. Based on the scale of the space, by the end of the year it should be done and ready for expanded operations.
Q. The company has also started preparatory work for obtaining the ISO certificate. What work do you have to do to get this?
A. We're in the process of obtaining the ISO international certificate.
We've brought hygiene and food safety in line with international requirements in the company's main factory. We also had to upgrade equipment. We think we'll have certification by the end of the year.
Q. The ISO certificate would also bring you closer to export to European markets. Have you already started negotiations with those countries?
A. Our team has set a goal to enter the European market, which means moving to European standards in all areas - quality of raw materials, production equipment, the technical side, and many more details. We are in negotiations with foreign exporters, who expect to receive from Solari competitive products made with Georgian raw materials.
Q. What are some recent developments at the company?
A. I would call them “challenges” rather than “developments”.
The import of raw materials from Ukraine was interrupted due to well-known events. The company was completely reset, returning to the Russian market. The export of raw materials from Russia has brought a number of difficulties recently, because the Russian government imposed a high export tax on sunflowers - 50% instead of ~6.5%. Basically, logistics have become much more difficult and time-consuming. However, with the team work and common efforts of the company, we have gradually overcome these problems and the supply is currently experiencing no delays .
- Sunday, 28 May 2023
- Today’s Market
For its traditional Austrian quality, a variety of choice and the best taste, Austrian meat product brand Schirnhofer has firmly established itself on the Georgian market.
Lasha Babuadze, Founder of Everest 2010, a distribution company that imports Schirnhofer to Georgia, told Golden Brand that for years Schirnhofer's products have occupied first place among sausages and meat products imported to the country.
This year again Schirnhofer has been named Georgian customers’ favorite meat product brand in a survey that involved more than 2,000 consumers and 100 experts. Babuadze said winning Georgia’s most prestigious and influential business award, the Golden Brand, was gratifying for the company as the idea had always been to offer the local market the best quality meat products, and “our efforts have been appreciated by customers.”
“Schirnhofer's products have long been loved by Georgian consumers. And double-digit sales figures also prove it,”
Currently, there are seven stores operating under the brand of Schirnhofer in Georgia, offering customers Austrian meat delicacies, cheese, and cookies made with Austrian technology.
“Besides offering the sausages for which it is known, an Austrian cheese and meat delicatessen can also be found in our stores, and an assortment of freshly baked bread made from Austrian flour in the Austrian style. Delicious sandwiches, pizza, hot dogs and everything that is needed for any family is also available at our store,” Babuadze said.
Q. Could you please tell us what makes Schirnhofer meat products so unique and popular among Georgian customers?
A. With almost a century-old tradition of producing over 600 varieties of meat products, Schirnhofer is one of the largest Austrian meat product manufacturers, producing 12,000 tons of meat and sausage products per year, using only Austrian meat for production.
The company’s head office is located in Kaindorf, Austria, which is considered one of the safest ecologically. Schirnhofer has 630 partner farmers. Its strict quality control begins at each of these farms. Quality control is paramount at every stage of production, and Schirnhofer uses ultra-modern technologies and laboratories. Schirnhofer holds an IFC (International Food Standard) certificate, which ensures product quality control.
Schirnhofer was founded in 1926 by Joseph Schirnhofer. The family business was carried on by his son Karl, who began producing sausages in 1950 with his mother. Soon the company became one of the largest Austrian meat product manufacturers.
Karl Shirnhofer himself was a founder of the Schirnhofer Company in Georgia, which entered the Georgian market in 2007 and quickly gained popularity among customers for its affordability, variety, and top quality products.
Q. How many products are sold at Schirnhofer stores in Georgia?
A. There are more than fifty varieties of meat delicacies and more than ten varieties of Austrian cheese available at Schirnhofer stores.
We also bake about twenty types of bread with Austrian raw materials and recipes.
The Schirnhofer cafeteria, which is open at every Schirnhofer store in Tbilisi, is very popular. At our stores you can have hot dogs, pizza, fried potatoes, onion and squid rings.
Schirnhofer branches will prepare delicious sandwiches to suit your taste.
Q. As far as meat products, what is the favorite of Georgian consumers?
A. For its quality and taste (although the products are not cheap for objective reasons) Schirnhofer meat products are very popular and in demand among Georgian consumers.
I would single out baked goods with Austrian raw materials and recipes. The demand for this type of product is increasing each year.
Q. Have sales increased over the years in Georgia?
A. Like all other businesses, the last two years have been very difficult for us too. A pandemic, global logistics problems, increase in transport and product prices, inflation problems — all these factors affected our business as well.
Unfortunately, this was compounded by the completely unjustified and unacceptable Russian invasion and occupation of independent Ukraine.
Despite these challenges, our team tries its best to keep products affordable to customers.
Q. How would you characterize the Georgian market and its competitive environment?
A. The Georgian market for sausages and meat products is saturated and thus highly competitive.
But we are not afraid of healthy competition. Our main trump card is the high European quality of these traditional products and the high standard of service in the stores.
Q. Schirnhofer has won its second Golden Brand award. How did the brand achieve this success?
A. It is a pleasure to receive any award. Especially when you put so much effort and energy into the work.
Our success is due to the traditional Austrian quality of Schirnhofer meat and bakery products and European standards of service, which our team have been trying to maintain for years.Read more
- Sunday, 28 May 2023
- Personal Finance
Shiraqi, a Georgian producer of dairy products, is planning to expand its line with new products such as yogurt, matsoni (strained sour milk similar to yogurt), dambalkhacho (made from buttermilk cottage cheese), aged cheese and other varieties of milk products.
Founder of Shiraqi Nikoloz Beniaidze told us that the company has a “great desire” to create a Cheese Museum in the country, “where master classes on cheese and tasting events will be held,” he said.
Currently the company produces fifteen raw milk products — sulguni, smoked sulguni, Imeruli cheese Extra, Georgian Cheese, twisted cheese, smoked twisted cheese, sulguni sticks, smoked sulguni sticks, matsoni, cottage cheese, ghee, butter Glekhura.
Dairy products under the brand of Shiraqi are sold not only locally but on export markets as well. Today, Shiraqi cheese and sour cream is sold in Singapore, Dubai, France, the USA, and Bahrain.
Beniaidze said that Shiraqi is working to expand its exports, with Canada and Israel showing interest in Georgian produce.
The company processes up to ten tons of raw milk per day, of which 15-20% is exported. Shiraqi exports about forty tons of products per year.
Q. Shiraqi won the Golden Brand in the category “favorite cheese producer”. What does this recognition mean to the company?
A. The whole Shiraqi team works hard every day to create a complete cycle "from field to table" to deliver the highest quality raw milk products to the consumer. For us, for the whole team, this award is appreciation and recognition of our work.
It is more gratifying to see that the company’s hard work done last year is appreciated this year. And I want to tell you that 2022 was quite challenging for Shiraqi. Due to a shortage of raw milk, it was difficult for us to meet the demand for raw milk products for some time, but we successfully overcame this obstacle and even became a recognized producer company this year.
Q. How has Shiraqi been developing on the Georgian market over the years?
A. Founded in 2006, Shiraqi was first involved in milk collection and over the years has grown into a large producer of dairy products. This success was based on the experience and knowledge of my and our company’s employees in various training programs that we did in Europe and America. Successful and growing farms I saw abroad had a great impact on my plans. In 2013, we laid the foundation on the Shiraqi farm.
Q. Please introduce us to the whole production cycle of Shiraqi, as you said — “from field to table”.
A. We produce Shiraqi raw milk products with 100% local raw milk.
We have our own dairy farm of high-yielding Holstein cattle, who are fed mainly with food grown in our farm. We also collect milk and import raw milk from other high-yielding dairy farms.
We have raw milk collection points in Kakheti and Kvemo Kartli regions.
Q. Golden Brand survey showed Shiraqi is Georgian customers’ favorite cheese producing company, but what are the best-selling products according to sales data?
A. Imeruli cheese Extra and sulguni, Georgian Cheese, smoked sulguni, matsoni, cottage cheese are among the top-selling products of Shiraqi.
Speaking of sulguni, I want to mention that Shiraqi sulguni was the winner at the blind tasting of EBIARD/FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture in 2018, 2019 and 2021. Georgia patented sulguni cheese according to Shiraqi’s internal standard of sulguni-making.
Overall, due to the increase in the price of raw milk, the prices of raw milk products were high last year, but in spite of this our sales were stable.Read more