A story spanning
more than a century
Angelo Rocca, the founder of the first Italian balloon manufacturer was born in 1884. At just 4 years old his passion was ignited when he emigrated to France with his family to help his brother-in- law, a successful balloon artisan.
As a young man he started off as a street vendor, but he was soon promoted to production assistant. By 15 he was managing the balloon workshop that supplied the most exclusive shops in Marseille.
At the tender age of 18, Angelo returned to his homeland, a small village called Casalvieri in Italy. Here he founded the first Italian company to manufacture latex balloons.
A flying start to the 20th Century
Angelo expanded the business by selling balloons across Italy, Europe, Africa and the Middle- East. He could only grow so far though, at this time production was long and complex, all balloons were strictly “handmade” by expert artisans.
Genesio, one of Angelo’s sons, founded his own company in 1953 called “Ditta Genesio Rocca”. He successfully transformed balloon production by growing it to an industrial scale.
In 1970 Genesio built the first factory covering a surface of 1000m 2 and purchased the first automatic dipping line to manufacture latex balloons.
Gemar is born
In 1977, following the premature death of Genesio in a tragic car accident, Angelo, Genesio’s eldest son took the reins of the company and in 1990 officially founds GEMAR. Under Angelo’s solid leadership, the company conquered a prima position in the global marketplace.
The story of Angelo Rocca
Angelo Rocca was born in 1884 but sadly tragedy struck young. At just 16 months old, he lost his father. After this painful event, life was hard. At the impressionable age of 4, Angelo and his family emigrated to France for the promise of opportunity.
Angelo’s brother-in-law was a very successful artisan manufacturer of balloons in Marseille. This was a novel career choice as the use of balloons was not yet as widespread and popular as we see today. For four-year-old Angelo, after a life of hardship, it was magic.
It didn’t take the young boy long to get involved in the business, he grew up around balloons and saw the whole process from manufacturing to selling. When he was ready for work he began as a street vendor and took great pleasure in seeing the joy that balloons brought to others.
Ambitious and enthusiastic he was soon charged with taking care of the production process. By the tender age of 15, he owned his own laboratory and used to travel Marseille, supplying the best shops in the city.
Before his 18th birthday, in 1902, he made a definite and brave decision to return to Casalvieri and set up his own balloon manufacturing company. He sold his balloons all over Italy but then as the demand increased he expanded and opened up supply to European, African and Middle Eastern markets.
Angelo might not have been able to envisage the reach and influence that Gemar has today, but he is still very much part of us. As a family run business, his passion, ethics and love for balloons live on.
At the turn of the millennium, Gemar expanded its production to incorporate a printing facility and began to specialize in printing latex balloons. Tapping into a new and prosperous market, Gemar developed a reputation as innovators in the industry, recognizing up and coming trends and providing their customers with designs that let them fly above their competitors.
The Rocca family is still at the heart of Gemar and has the support of a dedicated and growing team. It’s not just the team at Gemar that feel part of the ‘extended Gemar family’, Gemar prides itself on customer relations and Gemar Partners and it’s supply network all work together to lift the moment for customers around the world.
Gemar continues to manufacture the world famous “Italian balloon” in over 100 different shapes, sizes and brilliant colours. Today Gemar is among the world’s largest manufacturers of natural latex balloons and have positioned themselves as the undisputed industry leaders in Europe.