How I started to sell glass jars

BusinessSales / Service

  • Author Vitalie Trestianu
  • Published April 9, 2024
  • Word count 645

I’m 43 years old. Originally from the Republic of Moldova. I’m the owner of the Southern Jar Company Ltd.

I would like to share my story of how I have started to sell glass jars with lids.

Let’s start with a brief history of what glass jars mean to Moldovan people.

For a long time, people in Moldova and most of Eastern Europe were storing food in vessels. Before the glass jars started to be available in this area, food was stored in different-sized clay pots. At the beginning of the 20th century, most of the food started to be stored in glass jars. We are talking more about preserves, pickling, different types of jams, and heated vegetable mix.

Being part of the USSR, the food issue was all the time a priority. So, Moldovans, having a tradition of storing food for the winter time, were buying and using glass jars of any size in very large quantities.

An important difference between the UK glass jars industry and the Soviet glass jars industry was the type and size of the jars. The most popular in the Soviet area were and still are the 1l, 1.5l, 2l, and 3l glass jars. The second big difference is the neck type. In the Soviet area, there were no twist-off lids at all. All jars were suitable for heat-resistant tin lids for canning. According to my memory, even honey was sealed with the same canning lids as well.

I’ll write another article about the difference between Western and Eastern jar industry in the last 50 years.

Ok, so when I started to sell jars?

It was 1994. I was 14 years old. My father was the first jar seller in the Republic of Moldova, starting this business in 1992. With big difficulties, I would say, as all jars at that time were imported from Tiraspol/Transnistria, a Russian-influenced territory within the Republic of Moldova. I remember the times when my father was accompanying every lorry from Tiraspol to Chisinau to ensure the lorry would pass every mobile and static police station and the “custom” between Transnistria and Moldova. It was a very mentally demanding process. Sometimes he had two or three lorries to be accompanied in 24 hours. This was very tough.

In 1994, I and my two brothers started to be involved very deeply in this business, mostly in the summertime. From June until late August. In September we needed to go to school/university.

During the weekdays, we were loading/unloading jars. On the weekends we were selling jars in the villages at big open-air markets.

To be mentioned is that we were unloading jars by hand. Jar by jar. No sets. Jars started to come in sets by the beginning of 2000. 7-8 years each jar was touched at least twice – when loading and when unloading.

So, the whole week we were loading/unloading jars, and on Saturday morning we were preparing a full 5t kind of Luton van, a Soviet one, GAZ-53. On this truck, we were heading to village markets or just villages. Stopping in the middle of the village and selling jars. At that time, mostly we were selling 3l (most popular), 2l, 1.5l and 1l. Starting with late August the 0.7 l became popular as well, so it was the 4th product in our range. If to compare, now I am selling in the UK 86 sizes/shapes of jars.

Normally, between 1994 and 1998, a full truck was sold in two days, traveling 2-4 villages. This means about 2000 of 3l jars, 1000 of 1l jars, and 200-300 of 1.5l/ 2l jars. After 1998, the demand decreased and we did not have any mobile selling points. We were selling only from the warehouse and some temporary points on the busy streets, near the warehouse.

Check for new blog posts. I will relate more about jars, bottles, lids, cork stoppers, and screw caps.

Hi There,

My name is Vitalie Trestianu. I sell jars, bottles, lids, and other closures in the UK. I want to tell you all my story about how I started to sell jars in Moldova at about 14 years old and continue to do this in a different country, with different traditions.

Thanks for reading my article!

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