MUSEOWEB dell'economia varesina

Nastro & Nastro srl

Historical Profile

Entrepreneur at 50 years: the founding of Cerutti & Pozzi

The history of Nastro & Nastro roots its distant origins in the figure of Rocco Cerutti, born in 1856, who, after earning a diploma as "master worker" in 1882 , did an apprenticeship at the first printery in Luino, that of the Bolognini Pusterla. A few years earlier, the young aspiring printer profitably attended the drawing school of the local benefit society, one of the founders of which was his brother Giovanni, a "grocer and contractor" and society president.

At 27 years old, Rocco Cerutti moved to Milan, where he worked in a shop and married Clotilde Martinengo, a teacher by profession and close to the Vallardi family, owners of the publishing house by the same name. It was probably in the context of socialising with publishers that Rocco developed the idea of launching his own business in the printing industry. In 1910, at 54 years old, he returned to Luino to start his entrepreneurial project.

In 1913, he partnered with Carlo Malagoli, opening the company "Cerutti & Malagoli", which produced various printed matter flanked by the sale of paper products.

Just one year later, Carlo Malagoli withdrew from the business, which became the sole property of Cerutti.

In 1920, his niece Paolina Pozzi joined the company, daughter of Francesco and Marianna Cerutti, the latter being Rocco's sister.

And thus was founded – with premises in the centre of Luino, first on Via Sant'Antonio and later on Via XV Agosto – the general partnership "Cerutti & Pozzi" di Rocco Cerutti e Paolina Pozzi, whose brother Francesco participated in the business as an employee.

The company, with artisan printing in the back and the stationer's facing the street, is by now a well-known, highly-trafficked local business, offering an ever-increasing catalogue of items for businesses, shopkeepers, schools, families and students.

 The grafting of the Nastro generation

Cultural commitment was, from the beginning, a distinctive mark of Cerutti & Pozzi.

In 1921, it began publishing the weekly "Evoluzione", mouthpiece of the working-class university in Luino, which reflected Rocco's socialist sympathies. In 1923 Paolina Pozzi married Antonio Nastro, originally from Caserta, who, coming to Luino after World War I, continued his military career (later becoming involved in politics, in the Christian Democratic Party) without ever taking part in his wife's business.

In 1931, when Francesco Pozzi became a partner in the business, the company name became Cerutti & Pozzi di Francesco e Paolina Pozzi. In 1937, at 81 years old, Rocco Cerutti died without heirs. Business activity continued in the sure hands of Paolina, a stationer who became legend in Luino, and Francesco, who handled printing and accounts.

Growth in the 1950s led Cerutti & Pozzi to acquire, in 1956, the printery Bruno, in Luino. The same year saw the launch of the publication of the periodical "Il corriere del Verbano", which would continue until 1993.

In the 1950s, Francesco Nastro, son of Paolina Pozzi and Antonio and born in 1926, already active in the company, where he had spent time since a child, took charge of the printery, then becoming a partner in 1968.

He was much more than a right arm to his uncle Francesco, who, in continuity with the ideas of the founder, became active in the socialist party, dedicating a considerable part of his time to local political life.

First Paolina Pozzi in 1968 and then her brother Francesco in 1969 withdrew from the company in favour of Francesco Nastro, who acquired the materials, merchandise and machinery of Cerutti & Nastro, becoming owner, in 1969, of the company Cerutti & Pozzi di Nastro Francesco.

Between industry and culture

A man open to innovation, in the early 1970s Francesco Nastro introduced major organisational and technological changes in the company. In 1973, he established the sole proprietor business Centrostampa, and hired ten employees in the printing department, while he shared ownership of Cerutti & Pozzi with his wife Silvana Regazzi, who handled the stationer's. In 1975, within just a few months of one another, Paolina and Francesco Pozzi died.

With the distinction of the two activities and use of new, two-colour offset printing machines, which replaced the historic system of linotype composition based on the use of lead typographic characters, Francesco Nastro began the industrial development of the "new" printery, the commercial aspects of which he handled directly. In an area still characterised by the presence of major industrial settlements, private businesses, unlike those in nearby Switzerland, were the privileged customers of Centrostampa, while the suppliers for public organisations held a marginal weight. Francesco Nastro was not only a businessman, but also a passionate cultural entrepreneur.

In 1978, he edited the first issue of the magazine "La Rotonda", a Luino almanac founded by Piero Chiara and Vittorio Sereni, with whom Francesco had a deep friendship.

After the death of Piero Chiara in 1986 and a two-year interruption, the magazine started being published again under the new name "Rondò".

Love for books and things well-made inspired Francesco Nastro to realise, over the course of the years, various publishing projects dedicated above all to local culture and history and distinguished by high printing quality.

This cultural commitment was further reinforced in 1988 with the opening of an elegant bookstore in the centre of Luino, visited by a loyal clientele, also coming from the Ticino canton.

In 1988, the company Centrostampa ceded a 5% share to Silvana Regazzi and took the new business name of Nastro & Nastro snc di Nastro Francesco & C., which transformed, a few months later, into a general partnership.

The activity of the stationer's – that is the company Cerutti & Pozzi di Regazzi Silvana & C., transformed into a general partnership in 1982 – also underwent major developments with the opening of a new local space in a highly-trafficked area in the outskirts of the city, offering Buffetti products and addressing a commercial clientele.

Manuela Nastro, the firstborn daughter of Francesco and Silvana, born in 1959 and graduated in literature, was involved in both family businesses, dividing her time between her mother's stationer's and her father's printery.

An increase in business rendered the premises on Via XV Agosto inadequate, especially for the printery, the spaces of which had expanded over time through successive purchases, but that were then of little use to meet new demands.

In August 1990, Nastro & Nastro moved to Germignaga, in the former textile factory of the Swiss company Stehli, the property of which Francesco had bought already in the late 1970s, included the surrounding land.

The company had specialised staff, which it contributed to training, perhaps running the risk of then seeing employees migrate, in a context of increasing competition, to nearby Swiss businesses.

Modern development between reorganisation and new premises

The move to larger premises in Germignaga was accompanied by major investments in new machinery for five-colour printing and computerised tools.

After a period in the Cerutti & Pozzi bookshop, Nicola Nastro, second-born of Francesco and Silvana Regazzi, born in 1969 and with a diploma in accountancy, entered the printery in the area of customer relations. In1993 the Cerutti & Pozzi general partnership became a limited liability company and open a new local site for the display of office furniture and technical items, which however had a brief life due damage in a 1994 flood, which also struck the company's other premises. In 2003, after the renovation of the historic premises on Via XV Agosto freed up by the printery, the bookshop also moved premises and in spring 2008 the Buffetti shop was incorporated in the same spaces, reaching a total display and sales are of 450 square metres.

The reorganisation of Cerutti & Pozzi was accompanied by the international growth of Nastro & Nastro, 65% of the overall sales of which today depends on foreign sales (Switzerland, Germany, Tunisia), while the national market is for the most part concentrated in northern Italy, especially in Varese and Milan.

The advent of digital printing necessitated new investments in increasingly sophisticated technology, which further reduced production time. New product lines were developed, such as packaging for the food industry, using low-migration inks and acrylic coating.

In February 2006, Francesco Nastro died, right when working on the catalogue for an exhibition dedicated to Piero Chiara, held in November of the same year. His son Nicola took over leadership of the company, becoming the sole administrator.

In 2007, due to logistical problems and physical safety issues at the former Stehli factory, the printery moved to new premises of 6000 square metres, built on adjacent land that had been acquired by the far-sighted Francesco.

The company continued its focus on innovation with the addition of new, modern systems, including a cold foil press.

In the meantime, a new line of wrapping paper was introduced, featuring around 100 different patterns and distributed all over Italy through agreements with specialised wholesalers and retailers

In 2008, Nastro & Nastro joined the association "Imprese per il territorio", the activity of which is inspired by principles of local social and environmental responsibility.

With its advanced technology and 25 employees (a relatively high number for the industry) Nastro & Nastro is a modern industrial business.

The company is especially involved – in part after the hiring in 2010 of a manager with long experience abroad – in improving organisational and managerial processes.

Nastro & Nastro also continues to characterise itself as a leader in local cultural life, to which it contributes its own important publishing series, the editing and printing of the magazine "Rondò", now in its 24th year, running the annual book festival in Luino and more, activities in which Manuela Nastro is particularly involved. Manuela's two older children recently began working in the family business.