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A Century of Enterprise – ON THE MEDITERRANEAN ISLAND OF GOZO
31cm x 22cm
It is with great pleasure that on the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of the foundation of the firm Magro Brothers, I am presenting this historical account of the development of enterprise in Gozo during the past century and a chronicle of the growth of my family business during these years. This book is intended to be a lasting tribute to my grandfather Ganni, who founded the company on or around 30 May 1916, as well as to his sons: my father Manwel, and his two brothers Wigi and Guzepp.
It is no surprise to discover that one hundred years ago the cultural, economic, and social conditions on the island of Gozo were significantly different from the state of affairs in present times. It is indeed striking that despite the harsh conditions, the general isolation, and the overall neglect prevailing on the island, enterprise in Gozo was not wanting. It has been amply proved in the unraveling of the story that this was especially due to the resilience of the Gozitan business community that would not be outdone notwithstanding the continuous difficulties that they encountered.
I lost my father two days before my eighth birthday and my other two uncles passed away less than four years afterwards. This brought about a blank in the collective memory of our family history and of their past business ventures. Hence it was my decision and that of my family to invest in a researched and well-documented account on our family business. It was imperative that the story incorporates the background of the situation in Gozo, and particularly that of ix-Xewkija, Ganni’s home village, so as to better understand the choices for the business ventures that have spanned a century.
For this task we commissioned Joseph Bezzina, a leading Gozitan historian, founder of the Gozo Section of the National Archives, and for years Head of Department of Church History at the University of Malta. The choice could not have been more propitious as Dr Bezzina, besides being the author of over fifty books, has also the good fortune to know the Magro family personally as he lived in the neighbourhood of the office and factory of Magro Brothers.
This well-researched book has helped me to fill the missing gaps in my family’s collective memory and I can now understand better some past family choices and business ventures. The values that struck me most and which, I hope, I myself and my successors will continue to emulate is the tenacity of my grandfather, my father, and my uncles who managed to turn insurmountable obstacles into business opportunities; their resolve to remain anchored to Gozo despite personal hardships; and their faithfulness to each other and to their families.
Another characteristic that constantly recurs in my family history is the value of honesty twined with integrity, values that facilitate long-term relationships in business, further consolidated by the good fortune of having at our service a group of employees and collaborators that are second to none.
This book is indeed a tribute to the past business community of Gozo and it is my hope that it will serve as an inspiration for future generations of Gozitan entrepreneurs.