How it all began
It all began in 1996 with mother Yvonne van Gom developing recipes in her kitchen. It was a conscious intent of her son Kenneth, then an employee at Surinam Airways, to start a business. “Since that time I used to dream of owning a company, especially after I had witnessed the potential of the export of tropical foodstuff through Surinam Airways. We started a tiny family-owned business in a small shed of 3 x 4 meters, set up as a production facility. Virtually everything was done in that space. Cooking and production of the sauces, manual filling and labeling of bottles, literally everything”, Kenneth says.
It was only natural that their product needed a name. In a unique and creative way they chose the first letters of the first three grandchildren of the family, who were toddlers at that time. So Sishado is derived from the names: Sinear, Shaquille and Donovan van Gom (Sishado).
The first years of Sishado were known as hard times in Suriname due to a scarcity of foreign currency, among other things. However the family persevered. In 1997 there was a modest launch (soft launch) of the sauce among family, acquaintances, friends and a small group of supermarkets who displayed their interest in the product. In 1998 the company registered with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In that same year a new corporate identity concept and a new label were introduced. The official introduction or the launch of Sishado sauces was shortly thereafter at the “Women Fair”.
Market research and exploration of expansion opportunities have been a constant challenge. The company first expanded with the construction of a storage space of 20 square meters. A larger production facility of 100 square meters, an office space and a storage facility of 50 square meters were later realized.
Growth and Development
Since manufacturing the first bottle of Sishado in the kitchen of mother van Gom, Gom Food Industries Ltd. has developed into a specialty food industry. Mother and son have literally realized their dream. The production unit is no longer established in a tiny shed, but is now one of the three business branches of the parent company, Gom Group Ltd. The parent company, is the heart of the family-owned company. All properties, structures and the entire company management have been established under this name. The dream of mother Yvonne and son Kenneth now lives on under their inspiring leadership together with 30 employees who, on a daily basis, strive to produce a high quality product.
The company has evolved and many family members have joined. Gom Food Industries now produces eight different Sishado sauces.
After three years of having provided the Surinamese market with Sishado sauces, a new great era began for the family-owned business. In that year the first exports to The Netherlands (Europe) became official. Because of the historical ties with the former motherland of Suriname, it was an obvious move to export this product to the Netherlands. Following the Netherlands, the Sishado products were introduced in the dutch colonies, Aruba and Curacao, in 2004.
Since its startup Gom Food Industries has undergone several quality control tests by certified and renowned national and international institutes. The staff is submitted to an annual food handlers test and a medical inspection, which are strictly required in order to work in a food production facility.
At the moment the builing of a new and bigger factory, is in process. Also measures are being taken to qualify for ISO22000 certification.