THE AMERICAN DREAM ON COMOLAKE'S SHORE
Wait! The title might look misleading, but it isn’t. In reading it, you will probably picture that I’m talking about George Clooney and Hamal’s fancy life at Villa Oleandra in Laglio. Or maybe the Bellagio Town, which became famous worldwide thanks to the homonymous Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, immortalized in of the most beloved and known Clooney’s move, Ocean’s Eleven. However, it’s nothing of the sort.
So why the American Dream? Because, in common with so many American self-made men, the story I’m going to share talks about a man, fearless and hardworking, who built an imperium, starting from the bottom. A man who can be considered as a pride for my city, Como.
The name of the man was Enzo Ratti.
The Cavaliere Ratti started his entrepreneurial path through the opening of a small corner deli store successfully switched into Bennet, an important Italian retail company.
A great example that there will always be reward for determination and hard work.
Everything started in 1962, in Viale Rosselli, in the corner of Via Campo Garibaldi, one small place neighboring the “World’s most beautiful lake” which, being located just at the town entry, welcomes everyday tourists and visitors.
On that town’s street arose the first, small Bennet store, under the name of RAL Market (Ratti Alimentari Market) A family old style place with an awesome smell mix of cold cuts, fresh fruits, and soap. A place where, between 100 grs ham and a packet of biscuit, Cav. Ratti and his wife, Miss Giovanna Agliati Ratti (the actual Honorary President of the Company) had time to chat with the customers, hearing the facts about the people and the city, in a kind of “Primordial Facebook”. A place where regular customers used to sign down the groceries and pay the bill once a week. A place that the parents of my generation remember with joy. A kind of place that doesn’t exist any more…
The first Bennet business expansion took place in the late 70’s, with the opening of the first supermarket. Like many children of the area, I have awesome memories of that place. The food and the groceries on the ground floor and all the rest (gardening, brico and especially toys) on the first floor.
Going out for the weekly groceries at the Bennet was like a party. While the mums were busy choosing and checking the groceries carefully, upstairs, the kids, accompanied by the patient fathers downstairs, used to choose their gifts for the birthday or Christmas, in a kind of “Land of Toys”, pretty similar to the one described by Collodi in “The Adventures of Pinocchio”.
The movement of this store to the brand new Lario Center, in 1996, and then subsequent closure of the historic site, despite a little bit of disillusionment by the kids, now adults, was a first-class show of the times we’re and of the world’s evolution.
But before that, in 1993 Como watched the opening of the first Mall of the Area, in Montano Lucino. I remember perfectly the vibe got by the city for this event.
Before that, in Como, as in all the Italian Provincial Area (the towns located outside the big cities) “Groceries” and “Shopping” were two distinct concepts, and doing both at the same time was something unbelievable. And so far Bennet introduced all that in the city of “the world’s most beautiful lake”, and it was only the first of a long series of shopping centers.
The street where the “Centro Commerciale ” is located, was dedicated to Cav. Enzo Ratti and its seat furthermore of the Company’s headquarter. In 1995, to celebrate the 30 years of activity and the union of people, it was placed the monument “La Porta d’Europa”, crafted by artist Somanini, who gave the name to the mall.
It’s been a long time since that event and Bennet moved up. Under the management of Cav. Enzo Ratti’s son, Cav. Michele Ratti, succeeded in 1998 to the father, the company experienced a further expansion, being actually a true food retail and real estate imperium, with 64 stores opened in the North of Italy and 50 shopping malls fully owned. The 7,000 employees received continuous training on corporate culture, values, and goals of the group, to keep offering an excellent level of service, granted furthermore by a wide and selected choice of suppliers, allowing to satisfy all needs of every customer completely.
The society nowadays is ever more selecting and hustling. On the one hand, the consumers are ever more demanding, as discussed in my previous article, but on the other hand, they have less time to do everything, groceries included.
The Ratti’s family company is evolving as quickly as the world, granting its customers the opportunity to reduce to the minimum the time needed for the groceries. In fact, for some months Bennet has been experimenting in some stores the “Bennet Drive”. You order and pay online and pick up quickly with your car. The company next projects include the open of 40 “drives” in 2019 and the complete roll-out in 2020.
What else may we expect in the future?
I would like to share the vision of Bennet Marketing and Communication Director, Dr. Simone Pescatore:
“Bennet is carrying on successfully its strategic path focused on network redeployment, format and commercial offer innovation, shopping experience improvement and digitalization of stores and communication. The last openings and restructurings are a clear evidence of the ongoing commitment on development and innovation strongly ingrained in corporate DNA and culture, key conditions for being a leader in a market even more complex and competitive such as the retail industry.”
Bennet is a company in continuous growth, in which a multiyear tradition blends perfectly with a strong commitment to innovation.
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