Commercial ventures - sustainability initiatives

Ratz de Nagylak - A Multicultural Transilvanian Guest House

Ratz de Nagylak (RdN) is placed in the village of Petrestii de Jos, 27 kilometers from the town of Turda. A few years ago, Indrei purchased land for the family property portfolio in this village with the most incredible view of the amazing Turda Gorge. Before the DN 75 road and "mocanita" railway opened up the lower Aries valley to direct traffic between Turda and Buru, the Petrestii Valley was the major route connecting Cluj and the central Apuseni Mountain region. Traces of the paved road built through the valley by the Romans for transporting gold and other precious metals mined at Rosia Montana and the other upper Aries valley mines out to the world can still be seen at various points along the route connecting Cluj, Aiton and the three Petrestii villages, Buru and the upper Aries valley.

Fr Nicolae Raţiu (Indrei and Nicolae Raţiu's great grandfather), served as priest in the village of Petrestii de Sus as well as the parish of Turda Veche for over 30 years until his retirement in 1930. The white tower of "his" church can be clearly seen for miles, set at the head of the Petrestii Valley on a hill below today's Turda Monastery. We decided then to recreate a village atmosphere with guest houses of century old oak wood.  As a consequence of the 2008 economic crisis, we were forced to scale back the project from opening with the original 64 rooms to a three phase project opening with 16 rooms, restaurant, reception and stables during the first phase.  We anticipate the project will expand during the second phase to 32 rooms with outdoor facilities and eventually reach our target of 64 rooms during phase three, with a traditional wooden church, lake and holiday homes.

There are a number of features that gives a unique edge to RdN aside from the dramatic landscape. We plan a general store which will sell local products, kenneling for dogs and much thought has gone into an indoor/outdoor children’s play area.  Paying special attention to the physically challenged, one house will be fitted specifically to accommodate a wheelchair access as well as all public buildings. The restaurant with a large terrace and facing the gorge will also have seating in the two hectare vegetable garden.  The cuisine will be based on seasonable vegetables from the garden and local produce as well as an emphasis on Slow Food style cooking with visiting guest chefs from around Europe.

Ratz de Nagylak (origins of the family name) will offer employment to the local community as well as encouraging collaboration with local producers.  We expect to be breaking ground in the spring of 2014 and to have a soft opening by the spring of 2016.

Read more about Ratz de Nagylak - A Multicultural Transilvanian Guest House here.

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Contact

Anita Fülöp

Phone: 0728 989 083

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Satul Prunilor

Satul Prunilor (Plum Tree Village) Villas are based in Pietrosita village, Dambovita County, at just 26 km from Sinaia and 32 km from Targoviste. The compound includes 7 villas of 250 square meters each, with 3 bedrooms, big living room and completely equipped kitchen, for the best experience of the guests. Moreover, with our traditional restaurant, we support local producers, by using their goods for our meals.

Aconference center is also in place, hosting meetings, trainings and special events. The team at Satul Prunilor wants our guests to feel that the compound is their home while being away from home!

Read more about Satul Prunilor here.

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Contact

Anita Fülöp

Phone:0728 989 083

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"Gaia Mill" Bakery

“Gaia Mill” Bakery aims to become a reference name and supplier in the local and regional market, by offering top quality products at competitive prices. The project was born from the desire to cover a segment that is almost nonexistent on the local market: traditional bread and pastry prepared by using maia bread technology of high quality.

With this business we wish to meet consumer desires and to offer them healthy traditional bakery products. As part of our CSR policies, we also aim to provide financial support to programs and projects of Rațiu Center for Democracy.

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Contact

Doiniţa Pop

Phone: 0728 989 091

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A Dried Vegetable Factory for Turda

This region of Transilvania is famous for its traditional farming techniques which very much still include the horse and plough. Nearly every village household owns a working horse, chickens for producing eggs and at least one pig.  Due to the traditional farming methods the soil is not polluted by pesticides and therefore dark and rich. Summer in Transilvania is an exquisite mixture of vegetable gardens, country flowers, fruit orchards and country side. Transilvania produces some of the most flavorful fruits and vegetables imaginable. The Rațiu family own the old Turda Brewery built in 1910, a building listed as an industrial heritage side and an important landmark of Turda.

One of the many projects included in the redeveloping of the brewery is a Dried Vegetable Factory, which will support the local community, working with local producers and offering employment to youth from Turda.

The project intends to produce and sell dried vegetables to hotels and restaurants in the region, to be used as a stock base for soups and gravies, also with a view to eventually exporting the products. A part of the revenue from this project will go towards the running of Transilvania Fest, our food and culture festival, which supports small scale local producers and craftsmen.

Contact

Claudia Roşca

Phone: 0728 989 090

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La Papion Cultural Café. A sustainability project

La Papion Cultural Café is located in the historical end of downtown Turda.  The café is actually the part of the Rațiiu Democracy Center compound that faces onto the street. Though Turda has numerous coffee shops, a cultural café where events are organized regularly was missing.  As part of our immediate sustainability plan, we decided to open the coffee shop offering a light menu of fresh foods and quality coffees and teas, as well as laid back jazz in the background and comfortable arm chairs in a cozy, inviting setting. Aside from the friendly staff consisting of former volunteers, you will find magazines, books and the daily news.  

The name of the shop was chosen by the members of the staff and our chairman Nicolae Rațiu; it is based on Ion Rațiu’s famous bowties and yes, you will even find bow ties for sale in the café. The café hosts numerous weekly events under the direction of Emese Ladyani and management of Corina Chiorean.  In the evenings you will find groups, clubs and social events including Murder Nights all happening at La Papion.

We intend to expand our services into the courtyard of Rațiu Democracy Center (CRD) in the spring of 2014.  A percentage of the revenue goes towards the running of programs at CRD.

Please visit La Papion on facebook.

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Contact

Ioana Racolţa

Phone: 0728 989 074

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Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurial Mindset

The NGO world today is looking to become more sustainable with a view to a Social Entrepreneurial mindset.  Since government funding is drying up and companies we once tapped for possible funding are now opening their own CSR programs, it is imperative NGO’s start reviewing their resources with a view towards providing a service or product that will support their NGO initiatives.

 

Some of the immediate steps we have taken include:

  • renting our center as a facility for conferences

  • hiring out our professional trainers for a donation to the foundation

  • opening La Papion coffee shop

  • organizing events for companies and individuals, with donations going towards the CRD program of choice

  • creating a Friends of CRD Network as a financial support group, offering them discounts on our own events as donors’ benefits

  • organizing tours in the region with our Volunteer Coordinator, in view of charging a fee and generating revenue

  • organizing a program for foreign volunteers who pay a fee to attend and experience Transylvania

 

In view of Long Term Sustainability we are taking the following steps:

  • Opening The Artisan Bread factory, which will facilitate the Cluj region with traditionally baked breads, supplying both restaurants and hotels.  At the same time we will be employing people from the local community as well as human trafficking survivors whom we support through our Ratiu Center for Democracy (CRD) program. Revenue from this project will go directly into CRD

  • Establishing The Dried Vegetable Factory, which will supply hotels and restaurants throughout Romania with dried vegetables for stocks and sauces.  Again, we will be working with the local community in both supplying us vegetables and employing youth.  Revenue from this project will support the Transilvania Fest operation

  • The Beer Hall and Beer Garden at the Turda Brewery (part of the Ratiu family portfolio) will cater to the local community budget, serving local traditional food, and fill the gap in the need for a large premises for a restaurant.  We will be working with local producers and employing members of the local community. Revenue from this project will go again into CRD.