As GEFU marks 80 years – GEFU’s owner Rudolf Schillheim tells us about the company’s illustrious history as industry innovators
Eslohe in Sauerland – this is where GEFU’s story began 80 years ago. Today, the company is recognised as one of the most successful and well-known manufacturers of high-quality kitchen tools in Germany. While the brand name may bring back memories of the Funke brothers who founded GEFU in 1943, a lot has changed over the past eight decades. The man largely responsible for this is Rudolf Schillheim – sole proprietor of the company.
After finishing school, Rudolf went down the solution-focused, manual path and at the age of 15 started an apprenticeship as a toolmaker in nearby firm GEFU Küchenboss GmbH & Co. KG.
GEFU had specialised in grating, potato peelers and, of course, the classic Food Mill FLOTTE LOTTE®. But the young Rudolf Schillheim saw more opportunities and, importantly, a demand for innovative kitchen tools to make cooking easier.
“Cooking is a passion, cooking shouldn’t be any trouble and, above all, it should be fun,” says Rudolf Schillheim, who from 2004 was managing partner before becoming sole proprietor of the family-owned company in 2009.
Schillheim chooses original designs combined with high-class, durable quality which stands the test of time. This is also reflected in the slogan which GEFU is committing to in its anniversary year 2023: ‘We celebrate innovation. From generation to generation’.
“Our anniversary slogan fits perfectly with what has characterised GEFU for many years: the joy of cooking which is passed down through the generations. This is how GEFU brings together all cooking enthusiasts across the generations,” explains Schillheim. Both domestically and internationally, the slogan is visualised with emotional, cross-generational people motifs, a pithy anniversary logo and the known and loved GEFU products like the FLOTTE LOTTE®, SPIRELLI® and the X-PLOSION® range.
GEFU is offering specialist retailers an eye-catching presentation for the anniversary which allows for different sizes of space to be individually used. But there is more! “As a special treat for our customers, we are offering a range of great anniversary products which are embellished with an 80-years limited edition button. According to the motto of “You save – we plant”, we will plant trees in exchange for the anniversary products sold,” adds Schillheim. “In this way, we’re contributing to rejuvenating forest ecosystems to counteract the climate crisis.”