A strong economy, boom in the civil construction industry and subsequent increase in demand for furniture and home appliances have changed the face of Brazil’s retail market. Rises in purchasing power and living standards have inspired unanimous smiles for consumers and retailers alike, and there seems to be no looking back. In a competitive and fast-moving industry, the leaders are facing forward and fitting in with the challenges of growth and development.
The Gazin Group is one of the country’s top five names in retail and wholesale of furniture, appliances, electronics, housewares and related financial services. Today, Gazin is a household name in Brazil, and the company has taken the forefront of the industry with a firm commitment to always put its customers’ needs first, anticipating their needs and distinct styles.
“The best words to illustrate the Gazin way over the past 44 years are emotion, passion, humility, and simplicity,” says Mário Valério Gazin, the company’s president. The same criteria by which it approaches its clients are applied to staff. “With these values we have grown and conquered the market, by investing in our personnel and knowing that our employees will always give their best because they work for Gazin, and we are a different kind of company,” he continues. Gazin prides itself on investing in people, who are inspired to take on a sense of ownership, participating in every step as the company expands by leaps and bounds. This is the reason for the constant efforts that are made to prioritize the development and growth of the Gazin team. In this light, the company carries out its principal mission to ‘always offer only the best of products and services, with a clear differential in service.’
THE TALE OF A NEW BEGINNING
The brand was founded in 1966 by Gazin himself, who at the time was an employee of a small appliance store in Gaúcha, in Brazil’s southern state of Paraná. When the company’s owner decided to sell the small company, Gazin expressed his interest – but this was no typical sale. The owner proposed a trade. He would exchange the company for the Gazin family’s Jeep. At the time, Gazin thought it was a done deal, until he approached his father. The car was the family’s only asset, and cautious of losing it in a risky trade-off, his father and brothers were reluctant to accept. Following many heartfelt talks, some arguments, and many, many promises, he was able to convince his father and three brothers of his vision. They made the trade and embarked on the venture together. So, began the unique Gazin story.
“We were pragmatic from the start,” says Gazin. “When we founded the company, the state of Paraná was experiencing a great frost, which ruined coffee production for many rural families in the area.” People were out of work and looking to relocate to other rural areas to start over. With this migration, Gazin expanded into the states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso and Rondônia. With the expansion and growing success of the company, Gazin’s forward-thinking proved a great success. The company extended its product line from household appliances to furniture and housewares, and true to its nature, continued to open wholesale outlets and retail stores supplying what the customers needed, where they needed it.
INFRASTRUCTURE OF A MARKET LEADER
Today, the wholesale division is the largest and has 183 branches throughout Brazil, proving the entrepreneurial spirit of the company. Gazin also has 14 distribution centers, which are strategically located to afford maximum efficiency on processing, delivery and quality control. As a retail and wholesale brand, Gazin also manufactures mattresses and quilts at four group-owned facilities in Paraná, Rondônia, Rio Grande do Sul and Bahia.
Gazin’s headquarters, which measures 50,000 square meters, is now located in the northwestern region of the state of Paraná, in the city of Douradina. Additional stores and customer service locations are situated throughout the country.
The Brazilian retail market is growing increasingly competitive, and Gazin has risen to the challenge with a bold style, pragmatic and strategic business models, strong partnerships with suppliers, and the ongoing investments and appreciation of human capital. With many changes and challenges facing Brazil in the past, Gazin entered a new era of economic and political adjustments with a steady eye on sustained growth. The result was a period of great accomplishments. Despite periods of domestic economic stagnation, Gazin has worked to modernize its organizational processes, seek out new and creative ways to cut costs, employ more effective and cutting-edge technology, invest in logistics, consistently develop more employee development and training programs, and to create new sales channels and means of customer contact.
The transition from a small store to one of the largest domestic goods retailers in the country has demanded a structured approach: especially as Gazin has expanded its product line to include everything from kitchen appliances, garden furniture, kitchen ware, electronics, tools, sports and leisure equipment to watches, gifts, phones and even toys. Today, the group is separated into ten business initiatives which include wholesale, retail, financial services (that offer favorable payment methods to clients), mattresses and agricultural products.
Gazin has risen to be among the 303 largest companies in Brazil, and moved up 70 positions since last year alone, with annual sales of $0.75 billion. The increase equates to growth of 21 percent in 2010, in comparison to 5 percent national annual growth. The company has received national recognition including receiving first place in personnel management in Career Value magazine, as well being named by industry magazine Examen S/A as one of the seven best companies to work for in Brazil.
“We have grown rapidly, thanks to our bold, daring, and entrepreneurial style. We always focus on clear goals, and join together as a company to reach them,” explains Gazin. Current goals include concentrating on technology. The company’s facility in the state of Rio Grande do Sul is known as the largest and most modern factory in Brazil, a source of pride for Gazin. “Technology has greatly changed and improved the ways people shop, and therefore the ways that Gazin interacts with its customers. We are entering the digital era, and at Gazin we are prepared and excited for what changes this will bring,” continues Gazin. The company is constantly working to develop technology such as online resources and customer services to meet the needs of today’s assertive, informed customer base.
Gazin’s goal of providing its customers with the absolute best in service and products has not shifted an inch since its founding almost 45 years ago. With this in mind, the company has worked hard to establish new sales channels that never compromise excellence in service. A shift into online sales through the company’s website has brought about great changes in Gazin’s structure and focus, and has been hugely successful.
In addition to e-commerce, Gazin’s vast network of stores has continued to offer customized solutions to its extensive customer base. Last year the company embarked on numerous new marketing campaigns, promotional tactics, and networking activities and events, all focused on bringing new business into retail stores. Additionally, Gazin has begun to offer a range of innovative services to its customers, including additional security payments, financial protection, trusts, insurance and financing options, and the list goes on.
With intensified efforts in the wholesale market through operations launched from the distribution centers, Gazin has recently focused on the hotel industry, and has the means and logistics to supply the whole of Brazil.
From fairy tale beginnings, the Gazin Group has achieved astounding growth and established itself as a trusted household brand. With a dynamic and entrepreneurial attitude the company has secured a bold future, a growing market and a modern customer base. With both tradition and technology on its side, Gazin is one to watch.