MUSEOWEB dell'economia varesina

Mario Croci & figli srl

The establishment of the business

Mario Croci was born in Malnate in 1898. He learned his trade working in one of the many mechanical companies in the area. Following his marriage to Angela Croci – same surname but no relation – their first child, Elsa, was born in 1922, followed in 1925 by Imperia.
Mario Croci soon decided to open his own business and in 1924 established a sole proprietor business that built inlay divisionals to be inserted in moulds for coloured cement floor pavers.
Located at first on Via Vittorio Emanuele, the shop then moved to Via Brenta, contiguous to the family residence.
In 1927 the Croci company presented its own models at the trade fair in Tripoli.
In 1929, Piero was born, and in 1932, Valerio. In 1937, Luigi Croci became a partner in his brother Mario's business, which thus became the unregistered company “Mario & Luigi Croci”.

After just one year, Luigi, motivated by other interests, left the business, which continued with Mario as the sole owner. In 1942, Oretta was born, the last of Mario Croci's five children. During World War II, the business was still a small mechanics shop, which continued its production and did specific processes for third parties subcontracted by larger companies. During this period of war hardships, two important things occurred that laid the foundation for the future development of the company: the production, beginning in 1944, of the first manual moulds for concrete pipes, as well as the first mixers for building materials (sand, cement, gravel).

From craft to industry

With the post-war reconstruction came the company's growth phase, which moved in 1946 from its "garage" on Via Brenta to a warehouse on nearby Viale delle Vittorie, where the family also moved its residence.Mario Croci, an authoritative and esteemed figure, was president of the Cooperativa di consumo in Malnate. His sons began to work in their father's business as employees. Piero Croci, with a diploma in manufacturing, worked in the areas of designing and customer relations. The drafting machine that he used to realise projects and designs was in the basement of the family home, which also functioned as the administrative office. Valerio instead worked in the area of shop production, handling orders and supplier relations. The technical/production evolution of the company is evidenced by an industrial invention patent, registered in 1954, relative to a "support device with rotary and axial movement" used for rotation-compression pipes.

The craftsman approach continued in the production of small series, sometimes limited to just a few exemplars, customised according to the needs of various customers, whether large or small. These worked above all in the numerous building sites in Lombardy and the Veneto that supported the urban and infrastructural development of those years. In 1954, Massimo was born to Elsa Croci and Francesco Pavesi, who did not work for the company.
The warehouse on Viale delle Vittorie, located in a residential area, did not offer much room for expansion and had by then become too small for the productive needs of the Mario Croci company. In 1961, the business was moved to a new, larger structure on Via Baracca, a more peripheral location, where the business is still located today. In 1964 Mauro was born, son of Piero.
Starting from the mid-1960s, the machinery built by the Croci company began to establish itself on foreign markets, in developed countries such as France, developing countries (in Africa and Latin America) and far-off Australia.

In this early period of export development, participation in the Milan trade fair played a major role, where the company presented its products and sealed new commercial relationships. Begun as a small shop, the Mario Croci company now had the characteristics of a small, dynamic industrial enterprise based on the differentiation of internal organisational structures and on the use of avant-garde machine tools.

Between the second and third generation

On completion of the organisational transformation, in 1967 came a change in management: Piero and Valerio became partners in their father's company, which transformed into an unregistered company with the name “Croci Mario e figli”. With economic growth came technological modernisation. In 1973, Croci Mario e figli was the first in Italy to produce a pressing-vibration pipe machine for manufacturing concrete pipes with a maximum length of one metre, called Mach 3. The engineering office, always run first-hand by Piero Croci, added new professional staff, recruited from abroad. The development of activity also led to the construction of a new warehouse, it, too, on Via Baracca.
After the death of Mario Croci in 1974, the founder's three daughters became company partners, but only Oretta played a role in the business, where she had worked for some time as secretary, while Elsa and Imperia, three years later, withdrew from the company.

In 1979 the unregistered company became a limited liability company, the administrative committee of which comprised the Croci brothers, with Piero as president and Valerio as chief executive. Oretta Croci, the only woman left at home and never married, was named company proxy, and handled the businesses' administrative aspects. In the early 1980s, the third generation of the company came on the scene, cousins Massimo Pavesi and Mauro Croci, who found themselves working in a modern, dynamic company with just under 30 employees, the shop of which they had been visiting since childhood. Massimo, ten years older than Mauro and graduated in engineering, worked in commercial development, specifically in relationships with foreign markets. Mauro, with a diploma in mechanics, became involved a little at a time, as an employee in various departments: from the engineering office, to the shop, to assembly, to working as needed in the commercial area. The company continued to invest in avant-garde machine tools, also large scale, that required qualified personnel.
In 1989, it patented an innovative method of building reinforced concrete pipes with a steel cage,
The main business of pipes was flanked by mixers and batch plants.

The development of internationalisation

At the start of the 1990s, the international projection of the Malnate company grew significantly, its products reaching new markets (Spain, Portugal, Papua New Guinea), to the point of having a presence on all six continents.
From the site on Via Baracca, the containers of an external transport company departed stocked with the voluminous machines made by Mario Croci & figli, which were installed and tested on site by company employees. In 1993, Oretta Croci died.
In 1998 Mauro and Enrico Croci, the son of Valerio and born in 1970, joined the company administrative committee.
Enrico, with a diploma in mechanics, worked in design and as technical manager, working with new machine types.
His sister Renata, born in 1966, had been an employee of the company for years, where she worked in the foreign trade area.

In 2000, Piero Croci died, and his son Mauro took his place as chief executive. Finally, in 2006, Massimo Pavesi joined the company administrative committee, which is today governed by three cousins: Mauro Croci, the president, and advisors Enrico Croci and Massimo Pavesi.
Despite its international expansion, the Croci company, which today has 20 employees, maintains a size in keeping with its craftsman tradition, allowing it to work flexibly and to produce according to specific customer need machines almost entirely built within the company. In this context, the engineering office plays an increasingly important role, employing CAD systems for three-dimensional design and highly trained staff. A business that has never used advertising or known downturns, with the exception of three months of income support in 2010 due to the global economic crisis.

Today, the Croci business moves with agility and imagination, especially in foreign markets, from which it derives 80% of sales and where it experiments with original ways of identifying new customers, including participation in the local trade fairs of countries more or less distant. The problem of company succession is currently not at issue, as the new generation is still quite young.