In the Grosbusch family, established in Rosport since the second half of the 17th century, the tradition was agricultural, transmitted from generation to generation.
But in 1917, in the heart of the First World War, Jean-Pierre Grosbusch, the only boy of a family of seven children (his six sisters will become nuns …), broke the thread of this destiny that seemed all traced.
Believing that the future was more in the mining area, he chose, at age 26, to leave the family and opened a grocery store, in a shopping area dominated mainly by cafes. In addition to the family’s products, he sold potatoes, apples, pears, plums, mirabelle plums and other strawberries from farms in the region, all complemented by foodstuffs that he himself picked up from the Netherlands and Flanders.
The shop suffers, like all the rest of the country, from the 1929 crisis and then from the Second World War, but it resists. In 1940, the German army confiscated all rolling stocks and equipment of companies to reclaim them… But Jean-Pierre Grosbusch managed to conclude an agreement with a farm neighbor who, against commodities, agreed to hide his truck, which allows him to be one of the first to resume his activity immediately after the Armistice.
The days were long and tiring, spent largely on the roads to fetch, sometimes far away, fruit vegetables. And in 1953, at the time of passing the hand, Jean-Pierre Grosbusch founds himself without successor, his two sons, Marcel and Jean, not wishing to take over the grocery store.
They were nonetheless very active, since Jean, for his part, created in Soleuvre, the wholesaler “Grosbusch-Soanni”, with his friend Jacques Soanni, in 1952, driven by the ambition to become one of the key players in the market. His brother Marcel joined him in 1960 as an employee.
It’s a winning bet! Ten years later, the company already had a hundred employees and at the end of the 70s, it were in the second position of a grand-ducal market with a dozen or so wholesalers and importers.
Meanwhile, in 1972, Marcel choose to leave the company and settled in Soleuvre, as a semi-wholesaler, in the 20m2 garage attached to the family home. In 1973, his 17-year-old son, André, joined him and travelled with him all across the country during daily tours, including Saturdays, to deliver all the grocery stores that existed then.
Marcel’s other son, René, who graduated in 1971 with a degree in business and management, first went to London for a year before returning to Luxembourg to join the General Motors finance department. He stayed there until 1977, but the need for independence, the desire to do business and the wish to be more in touch with people eventually prevailed.
With his wife, Colette, he started to sell from September 1977 fruits and vegetables on the country’s markets in Esch, Dudelange and Luxembourg. Thanks to a loan of the equivalent of 3,500 euros, the couple created their own 12 meters long stall and bought a truck that displayed 400,000 km on the speedometer. A few months later, the couple became a major player in this field.
Soon, the need for storage space increased and in 1978, René bought a new terrain in Leudelange on which was built a deposit with limited means.
But in 1982, Marcel Grosbusch suffered a cerebral haemorrhage that prevented him from working. René sold his activity on the markets and joined his brother. “Marcel Grosbusch & Fils” was born in August 1982 and, quickly, the company put on a major asset: its ability to serve “à la carte” small customers neglected by large importers.
With the support of the economic environment – many large importers threw in the towel on the competition from large retailers who now had their own purchasing centers – the company’s activity did skyrocketing and soon Leudelange’s vexation was too small.
This was an opportunity to buy a new plot of 38 ha, this time at the Cloche d’Or in the early 90s.
It covered the needs for more than a decade, but in 2005, while no longer existed on the market only another competitor, Grosbusch then number 1, lacked space again. Direction this time Elange, with the construction of a first platform of 4,500 m2 for the product’s distribution and packaging. The site increased to 12,500 m2 10 years later.
In the meantime, René’s two children, Lynn and Goy, completed their studies and joined the family business in 2010, starting with an internal integration path that will allow them to tackle all the tasks … including the sweeping of the deposit!
In June 2017, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, Grosbusch officially inaugurated a surface of 18,000m2 which includes the Grosbusch Academy (training of “sommelier” in fruit and vegetables) and Grosbusch Kids (promotion of healthy food for 7- 11 years old). At the same time, the influence of the company exceeds the borders, with the establishment of a cell for the German market or the delivery by plane to expatriates around the world.