KNOWING ONE’S OWN PAST TO SHAPE THE FUTURE
Knowing one’s own past means knowing the value of things.
Our history lies on the tales of people who grew up facing challenges, very often enduring hardship. Strong-willed people who were able to stay committed also when there was no clear path forward, or when the path went crossed borders.
These people lived through great changes and distant migrations. One after the other they have perfected the details of the big picture we are today: a family firmly rooted in the territory, a family that has a passion for good work and the courage to shape the future.
A history, our history, where old paths lead to new ones.
LUIGI GOPPION, 1930
The first name is that of Luigi Goppion, a name built on redemption and intuition. Luigi had a difficult life, the type of life where nothing is given without a price to pay, and your future is entirely in your hands. Abandoned at birth in 1859 and brought up in an orphanage, little is known about his life as a child, nor are we able to confirm the origin of his surname. It may originally have been Goppingen, from a German father, a likely hypothesis considering that those years marked the end of the Second War of Independence.
“Firmly rooted in the territory, with a passion for good work and the courage to shape the future”.
Luigi’s birthplace, the village of Lughignano, was a thriving trade centre on the banks of the river Sile, a few kilometres from Treviso and not far from the city of Venice.
Commercial activities flourished, and goods and people travelled on the river, or in carriages trundling along country roads. A lot of people would come and go. Here Luigi had an intuition: to open a bar- restaurant that also sold groceries in the centre. His idea was to provide both food and refreshments to the travellers and the tradesmen that crossed the busy village.
Thus, he began to roast coffee in the cast iron pot over the embers in the fireplace.
He would let it brew, after decoction, and serve it piping hot to the customers and patrons of his shop and bar-restaurant. Business was good, but life still had much grief in store for him.
Married four times and four times a widower, Luigi had four children. One of them, Pietro, fathered six sons: Angelo, Luigi, Giuseppe, Giovanni, Olivo and Ottorino.
Angelo, the eldest, was the first to leave. He was dispatched as a radio-telegraphist to Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia. Here he remained after the end of the war and of the Colonial occupation with his brother Giovanni, who had joined him in the meantime. There was no work, yet they had to find a way to make a living. Therefore, they decided to do what they knew best: open a small shop selling Italian groceries, just like their grandfather had done a few years before.
ADDIS ABEBA, 1939. ANGELO AND GIOVANNI, IN THEIR GROCERY STORE WITH A ONE-YEAR-OLD SERGIO.
“In Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, Angelo experienced first-hand the best coffee in the world, and magic happened”
Magic then happened: they were in Ethiopia, where, according to ancient sources, coffee was first grown, and its variety is still considered among the best in the world. In Ethiopia, Angelo had a son from Irene, who had joined him from Italy. His name was Sergio, born in Addis Ababa in March 1938. Sergio spent the first years of his childhood in Africa, and then went back to Italy around the year 1942-1943. The situation was dire, the Second World War was raging, and on 7 April 1944 Treviso was destroyed by bombings. New beginnings and departures were on the horizon.
A few years later, in 1948, the opportunity arose to buy a small business, that of a small coffee roaster right in the centre of the city of Treviso. More and more, the family’s future seemed destined to be shaped by coffee. First Angelo and Giovanni, and then all the other brothers, would be behind the counter of a shop that roasted coffee in the back and worked as a café and a store selling coffee by weight at the front. Business increased and called for larger premises, which would open just outside the city that very decade. In the early 1950s, the first headquarters were inaugurated, a stone’s throw from the city centre.
“As something was beginning to take root in the Veneto, somebody felt the need to leave”
1950 IN CARACAS, OTTORINO AT THE AGE OF 25
As something was beginning to take root in their native region, somebody felt the need to leave. It was Ottorino, the youngest of the six, who decided to go overseas to Venezuela and seek his fortune in that part of the world. He would not be alone for long however, as his brother Olivo joined him shortly after. They wanted to see with their own eyes the place where coffee was grown…and coffee became their living there too.
Under the brand name of “Hermanos Goppion”, they launched the Café San Antonio in Caracas, determined to make coffee in a country rich in plantations. Olivo looked after the roasting and Ottorino dealt with the sales. While Olivo decided to stay, Ottorino went back to Italy in 1958, driven by his unquenchable thirst for new experiences.
1950, CARACAS. LA CAFE SAN ANTONIO - HERMANOS GOPPION
TREVISO, CORSO DEL POPOLO
“Work increased in Italy and the first coffee roasting facility was set up just outside the city”
TREVISO, 1950. THE FIRST ROASTING.
THE LOGO DESIGNED BY FRANCO SGRILLI
THE ROASTING ROOM
In 1965 the red “G” designed by the architect Umberto Facchini, finally brings the Family together under the new iconic brand logo. A logo for the “Fratelli Goppion Industria del Caffè” that represents the work of a whole family, the dreams came true and the experience gained throughout the years. That same logo can be seen nowadays on the top of the headquarter, situated along the Napoleonic road between Treviso and Venice, inaugurated in 1968.
NEW LOGO AND PACKAGING DESIGNED BY UMBERTO FACCHINI
ANGELO GOPPION WITH SENATOR CARON AT THE COMPANY INAUGURATION.
ANGELO, GIUSEPPE, LUIGI, GIOVANNI, OLIVO AND OTTORINO, TOGETHER ON THE DAY OF INAUGURATION.
27 MAY 1968. THE RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY. ANGELO GOPPION WITH PAOLA.
NEW LOGO AND PACKAGING DESIGNED BY UMBERTO FACCHINI
With Angelo, Giovanni and Ottorino, in 1983 the business developed into a joint stock company. Today it is in the hands of the fourth generation of the Goppion family. Sergio, Paola, Mario their children, and then Silvia who represents the fifth.
PAOLA, SERGIO, MARIO AND SILVIA
“Today we lead the company founded by our family together, with energy and a deep gratitude for what our progenitors have done”
The time has come to tread new paths, those that lead further afield. Little by little, the product reaches new markets. First Germany, and then Poland, followed by many other destinations. It is a gradual growth based on quintessential human qualities: trust, direct contact, empathy. These are the foundations for lasting business relationships.
Sergio, Paola, Mario, and Silvia lead this growth together. Their ambition to expand outside the Italian borders was rewarded with the new opening of the Goppion Kaffee GmbH in Vienna. Like Venice, the Austrian capital hosted the first coffee bars, in a country that loves coffee and offers proximity to eastern markets. The new facility was inaugurated in 2019, inspired by the spirit that animated our progenitors, who began our history, but looking towards the future.
2019, THE GOPPION KAFFE GMBH IS LAUNCHED IN VIENNA.