The Balint family and FELCO: a long history
Within the sphere of FELCO, extraordinary families can be found. Such is the case with the Balint family. One of the great personalities on Hungarian television, Gyorgy Balint is currently FELCO representative in Hungary. Much to the delight of Hermes Afész, a local importer.
With 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is certainly a small country in terms of size, however its reputation for its wine has been recognized overseas for some years now. Produced to the north-east of Budapest,Tokay, was proclaimed by Louis XIV as the "wine of kings". Since 2010, Hermes Afész has been selling FELCO ranges. This distributor is unique in terms of being a cooperative. In such a capacity, the company has maintained a close relationship with the agricultural sphere, thanks primarily to its numerous members.
A representative of choice
At the time Hermes Afész was looking for a representative to promote the Swiss brand, the choice was an obvious one: Gyorgy Balint was the ideal person. Why him? Simply because he was a celebrity in Hungary. After working as editor-in-chief for a magazine dedicated to horticulture for a long time, he retired at the age of 61. Not keen on spending his days taking it easy, he accepted, without hesitation, the offer from the Hungarian television company to present a series on gardening. It would be correct to say that the man is known in this field. Up to the present day, he has written 29 books on the subject and one of his books on fruit trees sold more than 250,000 copies.
So, in 1981 Gyorgy "took a gamble"and began presenting a ten minute show every Friday. The series lasted almost 30 years (up until 2009) making him very popular in Hungary.
Such popularity was thoroughly observed by Andras, his grandson. Thanks to his joint training in horticulture and communications, Andras played an important role in finalizing the partnership with Hermes Afész. The first creation, a DVD, explains how to cut approximately ten trees common to Hungary. All the videos begin with images of his grandfather.
Janos Balint and FELCO
It was by complete chance, when discussing partnership methods, that Gyorgy recalled that his son, Janos, not only knew about FELCO, but had also met Félix Flisch,the founder of the Geneveys-sur-Coffrane based brand.
It all started with a letter which Janos addressed to FELCO in 1971. At the time as professor at the Budapest Horticulture University, he carried out a study on the ergonomics of about twenty pruning tools which he decided to share with the brand. Amongst these pruning shears, the FGELCO 3 appeared.
With his remarks, he explained that he was delighted with the FELCO 3, but, that he also has some areas for improvement to put forward. One day, he received a letter from Mr. Schroer, FELCO sales director, thanking him as well as multiple pruning shears, amongst which the FELCO 7, which was intended to satisfy the remarks made.
The meeting with Félix Flisch
The two men formed a genuine relationship and met in Budapest. They got on so well that Mr. Schroer later invited Janos to come and visit the FELCO factory in Switzerland. In 1994, the professor arrived at FELCO headquarters and met Félix Flisch.
At the time, the founder of the Swiss brand, who was over 80, had already retired. He still went to the factory every day, and for an hour, repaired the tools in the after-sales service.
Once discussions had finished, Félix Flisch stated that he "was so happy to have met someone so interested in pruning shears and ergonomics"and invited his guest to sample a special Swiss dish, cheese fondue, served at an alpine chalet, at an altitude of 2,000 meters. Mr. Schroer becomes one of the group and the three men speak of pruning shears, evidently, but also life in general. And obviously, the hobby of the FELCO founder: mountaineering. "This all led us on to the discussion of ergonomics, as mountaineering is 100% ergonomics", states the Hungarian professor with a huge smile.
This close relationship between FELCO and the Balint family persists today with the partnership. Gyorgy, Janos and Andras have divided them roles: "my grandfather is famous. My father knows how to cut trees and I am able to deal with communications and marketing", concludes Andras.