A wealth of experience – natural stone since 1963
Dieter Grünig was a pioneer who established a medium-sized vending machine company in Odenwald, Germany that employed roughly 500 people in the early 1960s. With the company profits he invested more than 45 million euros (in today’s figures) in South Tyrol from 1963 to 1976. The head office was built in Sterzing on a large commercial plot right next to the motorway exit. In consultation with geologists, Dieter Grünig gained access to four natural stone deposits in the first 20 years of the company: Silberquarzit in Pfitsch at 1,500 meters, crystal quartzite in Pfunders, Duner serpentine and white marble in Mareta. Production facilities were built and infrastructure such as access roads established. A material cableway was even set up in 1965 to transport crystal quartzite at Gaiskofel with a length of 1,750 meters and a payload of 2.5 tons – the largest in South Tyrol at the time.
The Pfunderertal and Pfitschtal valleys were very poor regions when the company was first established. The population lived on meager agriculture. Exploitation of the natural stone deposits created over 60 jobs in Pfitsch, which led to a huge economic boom for both valleys.
Prof. Dr. med. Ekkehard Grünig takes over the company
The marble plant in Mareta was sold in 1982. Brixner granite operations opened in Meransen-Vals instead. In addition, peat production was moved from Sterzing-Laives to Salorno in 2001 and eventually sold in 2015. Prof. Dr. med. Ekkehard Grünig took over as the sole owner and managing director of the company in the 1980s. The specialist for internal medicine and cardiology and director of the Center for Pulmonary Hypertension at the University Hospital Heidelberg is now a second generation owner and managing director of Grünig Natursteine GmbH. He also began mining Brixner granite in Vals, established the natural stone trade network and started offering project support services. Company buildings and facilities have been modernized under his leadership, new mining areas opened, investments made in research and new structures established. The South Tyrolean employees are largely responsible for their own areas of work. Overall management was transferred to Dr. Martin Schanung in 1999. Senior employees share in the profits.