The sweet company HEDONA from Križeva was founded on this day, February 8, ten years ago. On the occasion of that jubilee, we spoke with the founder, president of the Križevci Association of Persons with Disabilities, Peter Gatarić, and director Alemka Lončar.
The President of the Association of Persons with Disabilities in Križevci, Petar Gatarić, reminds that the establishment of Hedona was preceded by the association’s project “Chocolateria Cris” from 2012.
“In our program orientations, we already had the task of going to work on establishing a social enterprise. The main goal was to employ people with disabilities who cannot be employed on the open labor market. The general goal of the project was to promote the social inclusion of people with disabilities through their integration into the labor market. After that, on February 8, 2013, the Križevci Association of Persons with Disabilities founded the company Hedona, and the Association is its 100% owner.
Through this project, we have given importance to securing one of the basic human rights, namely the right to work for people with disabilities, but also the right to become active participants in the business process, who will contribute to the development of Hedona through their engagement in accordance with their capabilities. By employing people with disabilities in Hedona, we have contributed to combating their poverty, improving their social image and the quality of their lives,” says the originator of this idea, the president of the Association of Persons with Disabilities, Petar Gatarić.
“On this day, I am very happy that it came true. Hedona has become one of the trademarks of Križevci, Koprivnica-Križevci County and Croatia. We believe that it is now an impressive home for the employees in the new facility, which was built with local wisdom according to the highest technological and hygienic standards. On this day, I express all my praise to the employees of Hedona, led by director Alemka Lončar, who contribute to the successful business and development of Hedona with their expertise, knowledge, love, perseverance and motivation” – said Petar Gatarić.
He reminds us of a beautiful lesson: “Perhaps disabled people do things differently, but they can do them. How they do it doesn’t matter, but let them try”. We applied it, we gave them an opportunity and they took advantage of it. There is no greater motivation for us as owners, the Association of Persons with Disabilities, to continue supporting our company. Their joy and smile on their faces is the greatest acknowledgment of what we could do for them” – said Petar Gatarić, president of the Association of Persons with Disabilities Križevci, at the end.
Hedona currently employs 32 people, of whom 18 are disabled. Their life stories tell how much their quality of life has improved since working here.
On this occasion, the director of Hedona Alemka Lončar says that they work a lot, make great products and would like all those who have not tried them to try them.
“This summer, we opened our little house in the city center, expanded and in a larger edition, where we offer various sweet gifts for all occasions. Especially new is our ice cream produced according to our recipes and we have the best ratings so far. We are working hard to create new jobs in order to employ more people with disabilities. Just by having the opportunity to work, people with disabilities feel much better and are more satisfied. Some employees have managed to solve their housing problem in these few years, some have bought a vehicle, a summer house, and these are all things that were out of their reach before. All these stories of our employees in Hedona give us a new wind behind us to try to do as much as possible for them. They really give it back with a loyalty that is hard to find among workers today. We have made sure that our employees, after being given that opportunity, really appreciate it. They work extremely hard, I would say far more than people who do not have health problems and limitations. It’s really an honor to work here. It literally fills me with satisfaction every morning when I come and see their smiling faces and the positive atmosphere that reigns there. It’s the best company I’ve worked for in my life, and that gives me extra energy to get involved as much as possible” – Hedone director Alemka Lončar told us.
The market is always unstable, especially during a recession, so people give up everything that is a luxury. Hedon’s chocolate is certainly a sweet luxury, but because of its quality it is recognized on the market and finds its way to customers.
Director Alemka Lončar says that they are adapting to the market.
“It is our advantage that we are very flexible, we research the market and research what else is possible to do if it is in demand. We have a large assortment and from some initial types of chocolate: milk, white and dark, we finally put together a large assortment of pralines, chocolates and chocolate dragees. We made various combinations of them in various packages. This is all offered in our house, but also on our web shop. We want everyone to rejoice with us because ten years is relatively short in the life of a company, but in the life of Hedona it is a lot because we have come a long way. From the very beginning until now, it’s a huge difference” – concluded the director of Hedone Alemka Lončar.
(Source: https://prigorskiradio.hr, Facebook Hedona)