We cherish with care and love the story of Erio Rossi, founder of our company and today honorary president.
A man who in his life has had to face many difficulties, overcome obstacles and bet on a sector still unknown in the area. We certainly admire his courage and determination, which led him to give shape to RossiTre, making it a point of reference for heat and surface treatments of metals and alloys.
Today we have decided to tell the story of a man who, from an intuition, has reached, in the following years, important goals and great satisfactions. However, we do it from his point of view, using his words, because, in our opinion, they are capable of transmitting values and emotions.
SERM company and the financial crisis
Me and my brother Mario worked together for 29 years at our company, SERM. We built and assembled steel and aluminum windows in different parts of Italy but we also had requests from abroad.
My job in the company was to manage and plan the production in the workshop, to install the windows on construction sites. My brother, on the other hand, was in charge of contacting customers, making offers, managing the financial administration and, when I moved to the construction sites, he kept an eye on production.
However, the economic situation at SERM was not the best: some customers failed, others did not pay and, at this rate, the administration was put to the test. In 1983 we made a decision: it was time to part ways, so we split the warehouse and machinery equally.
Until the completion of the ongoing works, we still carried on the business but in 1984 our financial crisis forced us to sell the shed and the land. Thanks to the sale, we were able to pay off our debts and at least save our homes.
My home, in particular, had an enormous emotional value for me and made me understand what the true meaning of the term “sacrifice” was. In the evening, when I finished work, on weekends, in the snow or in the moonlight, I did the excavation of foundations with pick and shovel on my own, moving the soil with the wheelbarrow.
I learned to do things that I never thought I could do, such as grooves for lighting cables, plumbing and heating. I took care of painting the interior walls. All in order to save money. It was 1970.
On December 27th, 1984 nearly a tragedy: my son Davide, at the time an apprentice at SERM and on that day located in Milan at one of our construction sites, fell from the 6th floor. Miraculously he was saved and I am convinced that that day Our Lady protected us from up there, together with our little Barbara, our guardian angel.
The first intuition and approaches to sandblasting
It was 1985 and I was 46 at the time. I didn’t have a shed, not even a job, but I had three young children and the house loan to pay. There was little money but luckily I was debt free. It was at that moment that I asked myself: “What do you want to do now?”.
I have heard that a local entrepreneur asked his employees, close to retirement, if they owned sheds for the breeding of chickens or pigs and if they had the desire to work independently and sandblast the steel spools produced by his company.
So I decided to contact him directly and he replied: “You can work on the sandblasting of the spools but I cannot guarantee you certainty for the job”.
I also went to ask another entrepreneur to get an idea.
He said to me: “You are crazy! Sandblasting is not an essential thing for the forges. You will certainly not be able to support a family with it!”. There and then I said goodbye but inside I thought: “I’m crazy: you can’t reason with crazy people.”
It was early January 1985. It took me a couple of days to think. On the third I made my decision: I would become a sandblaster.
That evening I went to visit Mino, a senior employee and clerk for a local company. I sat down at his house and, sitting at the table, he offered me a good glass of wine. I told him about the great difficulties I was going through with SERM, that I was worried and about my choice to become a sandblaster.
His response was immediate: “You will make it!”.
I took courage and, the following day, I began to search through the phone book looking for the names of sandblasting companies, focusing on the city of Milan. I found two industries.
I called the first one but the representative, after explaining him my situation, demanded to be paid also for his intervention as he found me absurd, incoherent and without assurance. I got mad and I showed him the door.
I contacted the second company and the owner came to see me, a kind man who put his trust in me. So I took him to see where I was going to place the sandblaster, showing him a small pig shed. He remained speechless, looked around and took the measurements in steps: 9 in width and 12 in length. We also took care of measuring the height from the floor to the chains: it was 2.5 m.
He looked at me and told me that the following week he would mail me a drawing representing the correct positioning of the sandblaster, its price and method of payment.
On the way back, I asked him to stay for a coffee made by MariaRosa and handed him a bag of walnuts picked from the palace plants. We said goodbye. As agreed, I received the drawing, with the offer and the order confirmation attached, which I signed and sent. It was the beginning of a new chapter.
Thus was born RossiTre
For the arrival of the sandblaster, I had to make some changes to the small shed. We established the most convenient choice: lower the floor rather than raise the roof of the structure.
At that time I was working with my brother Mario, to complete the acquired jobs and respect the commitments made. In the evenings, Saturdays and Sundays, together with my friend Antonio, I dedicated myself to the arrangement of the shed.
In March 1985 an unfortunate event happened: the great snowfall of that year caused my share of SERM warehouse to collapse and the buyer removed 17 million lire from the agreed sale amount. This incident forced us to sell our parents’ house to pay off our debts.
Finally, on April 18th, 1985 the long awaited sandblaster arrived and six days later we sandblasted our first piece: a spool.
My relationship with Mino strengthened and I recognize today the importance of his interest in my new business especially in the early years. Thanks to him, we got many pieces to be deburred, sandblasted, punched, painted …
From that moment on, RossiTre was born, with two of my sons present full time and Davide, my third son (at the time employed elsewhere), came every afternoon to lend us a hand. He learned to manage accounting, make offers and look for clients to propose us as sandblasters, painters and deburrers. The presence of MariaRosa was also fundamental, initially helping us by smudging small pieces of cast iron.
With so much commitment and will, we have never stopped, growing and improving. After 30 years, here we are!
Fun fact: when people ask me why I decided to call my company “RossiTre” at the time, I always give these four reasons:
1) Rossi is, in fact, my surname.
2) Three is the perfect number.
3) Number three represents the Holy Trinity.
4) Three is the number of my children, three are also the days I allow myself to make the decision to become a sandblaster.
Looking back I think that this was truly an adventure, where I showed I had courage, I was also assisted by luck and I was always protected by The Lord.