Cristalera Vitrofn raises a glass to export success

Cristalera Vitrofn, located at Caada de Gomez in the Argentine province of Santa Fe, is preparing to put a second furnace into operation as the glassworks looks to build on its first success in direct…

Cristalera Vitrofn, located at Caada de Gomez in the Argentine province of Santa Fe, is preparing to put a second furnace into operation as the glassworks looks to build on its first success in direct sales to a foreign buyer. Vitrofin, which was reborn as a workers co-operative two years ago, recently sent a USD 20,000 consignment of wine glasses to a Mexican restaurant chain, an important move according to co-operative president Carlos Milln, because it is “the first direct sale we have made to another market”. In its previous incarnation, the firm exported to the USA, Brazil, the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain, but always through distributors. Following the Mexico order, the co-operative is now preparing a USD 40,000 order of 60,000 glasses for delivery in April 2006 to a US client. Vitrofin also made contacts in Venezuela in the context of the first international meeting of companies restarted by workers, held in Caracas at the end of October 2005. Before going bankrupt, the glassworks operated for 40 years and enjoyed the patronage of four and five star hotels in Argentina; the firm“s glassware was also to be found in Argentine embassies around the world as well in the presidential residence. However, in order to maintain quality, the co-operative now needs to recruit and train new glassblowers. For that reason, the firm will shortly begin a series of training workshops, to be co-ordinated by the local and provincial authorities. Known for its glasses, jugs and decanters, the firm recently started a new product line of sports trophies, which it is promoting to representative bodies. “We can“t stop because the domestic market is difficult, due mainly to the entry of products from Brazil and China at much lower prices”, emphasised Milln.