The history of one of the most successful and well-known manufacturers of high-quality kitchen tools in Germany begins 80 years ago: a lot has changed in the last eight decades. Largely responsible for this is Rudolf Schillheim, sole proprietor of the company.
"He is a visionary, a doer, who needs to implement every idea, ideally right now, today and in a hurry," say the employees about their boss. This has always been the case, remembers Schillheim. This is why, after finishing school, he went down the solution-focussed, manual path and at the age of 15 started an apprenticeship as a toolmaker in nearby firm GEFU Küchenboss GmbH & Co. KG, company specialised in grating, potato peelers and of course the classic: the Food Mill FLOTTE LOTTE®.
But the young Rudolf Schillheim saw more opportunities and, above all, the demand for innovative kitchen tools to make cooking easier. "Cooking is a passion, cooking shouldn't be any trouble and, above all, it should be fun," says Rudolf Schillheim, who first of all takes over the management of the company until leading the company's fortunes from 2004 as managing partner and as sole proprietor of the family-owned company from 2009. GEFU establishes itself as a strong brand with consistent expansion of ranges, new concepts and strength of innovation, with its own trends with which it is able to serve all the needs and demands of modern kitchen tools with its enormous breadth and depth of range.
Today, GEFU is well-known as a full-range supplier in this sector, offering 650 products in 14 indulgence categories, enthusing customers domestically and internationally. But it's not just the range that is expanding, so too is the list of honours, accolades and awards. Almost every year, the kitchen tool manufacturer wins sought-after national and international innovation and design awards, such as the renowned iF Design Award or the German Design Award.
It's no surprise, as Schillheim chooses original designs combined with high-class, durable quality which stands the test of time. This is also reflected in the slogan which GEFU is committing to in its anniversary year 2023: We celebrate innovation. From generation to generation. "Our anniversary slogan fits perfectly with what has characterised GEFU for many years: The joy of cooking which is passed down through the generations. This is how GEFU brings together all cooking enthusiasts across the generations," explains Schillheim. Both domestically and internationally, the slogan is visualised with emotional, cross-generational people motifs, a pithy anniversary logo and the known and loved GEFU products like the FLOTTE LOTTE®, SPIRELLI® and the X-PLOSION® range.
GEFU offers specialist retailers an eye-catching presentation for the anniversary. This concept allows for different sizes of space to be individually used. But there is more. "As a special treat for our customers, we are offering a range of great anniversary products which are embellished with an 80 years limited edition button. According the motto of "You save – we plant", we will plant trees in exchange for the anniversary products sold," adds Schillheim. "In this way, we're contributing to rejuvenating forest ecosystems to counteract the climate crisis." An action which once more confirms GEFU's sustainability commitment for future generations. Because the subject of sustainability is firmly anchored in the company philosophy and is very close to the entrepreneur's heart. When it comes to GEFU kitchen tools, it is all about products which don't use any electricity and which have a guaranteed long life. Guarantees between 5 and 20 years underpin this promise. But also the self-sufficient energy production at the site accompanies this sustainable way of thinking.
"45 years ago, I would never have dreamt that I would become the owner and managing director of the company where I did my apprenticeship. I am all the more delighted that, together with my family and my team, I have been able to transform GEFU into such a successful company and that this year we're celebrating our 80th anniversary together with our clients, along with many great promotions," says Schillheim. "And I am certain that one day my sons, who are both already committed to GEFU, will continue to drive this success forward into the next generation with the same level of innovative talent and passion."