Sergiu Cioanca: Sega Company
Sergiu Cioanca’s story begins in a small city called Alba Iulia in the 1990’s, with a young man’s passion for manufacturing and equipment production. The first thing he manufactured was a soda machine, which helped him to start a small business selling soda. Later, he began producing ovens and automatic machines to make donuts, pancakes and pretzels. “Business was growing and more financing was needed, so in 2005, a friend of mine recommended Vitas – which had confidence in my business’ potential and helped me with an investment loan,” he explains. “Since then, my business has expanded and I have started producing pastries with the equipment I manufactured.”
In order to meet the growing demands of his business, since 2005 Sergiu has hired two people to help manufacture equipment and 20 people to assist with baking and selling pastries. In desiring to keep things simple for its customers, Sergiu’s company, called Sega Company, has expanded to include two working points and seven mobile stands which travel to different crowded areas. The food carts have been an extraordinary success because they allow Sergiu’s customers to buy fresh pastries just the way they like them—hot and fresh out of the oven. He recognizes the impact that his career has had on his life and the local economy: “I believe that innovation is a risky business, but if you know how to use it, you have everything to gain. You always have to be very well informed and continuously learning. With Vitas Romania, not only did I receive financing, but also the counseling I needed so much.”
Nicolae Pandor: Alex Olimpic
Nicolae Pandor is no stranger to hard work. While the town he grew up in was full of history, it was not one of great wealth, so he spent his youth working in a mining plant in Baia de Aries to help support his family. His financial situation became more difficult after the birth of his first child. When he was 28 years old, he realized that he must do something drastic if he wanted to improve life for his family. Being young himself, he remembered the frustration of being a teenager and having no place to purchase clothing or accessories that were both affordable and stylish. Seeing an opportunity, he took a huge risk, selling his home to get the money he needed to rent a small kiosk in Baia de Aries. His venture was quickly successful; sales were high and the store became the second largest in the city. Unfortunately, the store building was demolished and he had to start all over again.
He and his family moved to Abrud city where they struggled; everything seemed to go from bad to worse, until one day they found a flyer in the mail box from Vitas Romania (then called CHF Romania). With the loan he obtained from Vitas he managed to move the store to a more central area. Gradually, things got better. “It has been 13 years since we have started that small shop in Abrud city. Even if at the beginning it was not easy and we struggled a lot, we knew that we couldn’t give up. Business has grown and now we have three working points and another company with the same profile. Vitas was a true development partner; their 16 loans have contributed to the prosperity of our business. With them, we found more than just financial support, but also understanding, speed and flexibility.”