Alfredo NuganManaging Director, Nugan Group 1940 – 1965
Alfredo Nugan is an inspiration to his family. He was a visionary, who used innovation and quality control to become a highly successful supplier of produce throughout Australia - pioneering what is now a thriving, highly diversified family business.
The beginnings of Nugan Group took shape in Valencia, Spain, where a young Alfredo worked for the leading fruit exporter. Here he learnt the family’s mantra: “only the best quality goes to market”.
In 1939 Alfredo decided to immigrate to Australia.
On arriving in Australia, just prior to the outbreak of World War II, Alfredo settled his family in the rural agricultural town of Griffith, New South Wales. In 1940, after working a year to gain local knowledge, Alfredo started a direct mail order business to supply quality fruit to the public. The business grew quickly with mail orders being dispatched all over NSW and in 1941 Alfredo opened his first packing shed.
In 1943, with financial assistance from the government, Alfredo substantially grew his operations to supply produce to American troups based in Queensland. With this growth, came innovation for Nugan Group and the produce industry.
Given the travel time and warm temperatures, it was imperative to find a way to pre-cool fruit for transport to Queensland. Consequently Alfredo designed the first pre-cooling sheds for produce and commenced icing transport. Over time, as sales continued to grow, Alfredo further developed pre-cooling technology importing state of art equipment keeping Nugan’s at the forefront of pre-cooled and iced-transport.
In 1945 Nugan Group opened Nugan Packing Company Pty Ltd in Casino, NSW; a purchasing office in Sydney and commenced exporting fruit.
1946 saw Nugan Group diversify into vegetables and begin a relationship, which still exists 60 years later, of supplying apricots to what is now Golden Circle Cannery.
1947 saw the purchase of Nugan Group’s current headquarters in Griffith and the construction of a state of the art packing complex. In his memoirs, Alfredo explains how the investment in this facility was immense but his belief was “…to build for the future and let the future pay for it… Nugan’s never did look back”.
Sadly with Nugan Group’s operations now so large, it was necessary to cease the mail order business on which the Group was founded. With over 7,000 customers, it took two years to wean the public from the mail order business.
In 1962 Alfredo’s son, Ken, joined the family business and in 1965 Alfredo retired. “I felt that having young competitors we would only be able to meet them with the energy and enthusiasm only youth can supply”.
Alfredo was dedicated to his wife, Anna, and four children. He was passionate about food, wine and fishing. Indeed Alfredo was renowned for combining his passions, often using his catch to make his famous paella and share stories with friends over a bottle of wine.
Alfredo and Anna were active in the cultural advancement of the Riverina being founding members of the Griffith Food and Wine Club and initiating cultural visits such as ballet, opera and theatre through the NSW Arts Council.
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