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North American Ranchers Visit Greece

September 15, 2017

A group of seven ranchers and their families rounded out the summer this year with a trip across the ocean to the historic fur garment hub of Kastoria, Greece.

Nestled on the shores of Lake Orestiada in Northern Greece, Kastoria is one of the world’s major centers for the manufacturing and dressing of fur, and in recent years, the surrounding area has developed into a sizable production region for ranch mink.

The trip, which took place from August 26 to September 2, was led by NAFA representatives Wayne Booth (Director Rancher Relations, Canada), Chris Vaughan (Director Rancher Relations, US), Bobby Poulios (VP, Buyer Relations) and Nicole Bauduin (Greek Marketing Representative). Its purpose was to provide ranchers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to travel, network and learn more about the global fur trade. The itinerary included activities and excursions specifically pertaining to the industry as well as visits to a number of cultural landmarks such as the holy monastery of Meteora and the Vergina Museum which included the Royal Tomb of Phillip II.

The ranchers in attendance included Greg and Mary Mueller, David and Alexis Preston, Kevin and Tracy Thurston, Wayne and Lisa Hodgson, Jim and Lori Flemming, Stephen and Nancy London and Jeff Mitchell.

Trip highlights included:

  • A tour of Mabiz feed kitchen
  • Tours of local mink farms Bosman and Helas
  • A tour of Avontis processing plant
  • Furrier “meet-and-greets” with valued NAFA customers, ego, EXPOPEL, and Divine Furs
  • A tour of DTS Tannery, a Kastoria based dressing plant
  • Visits to skin dealers Siamos – Tsiflikiotis and Hellas International Fur Merchants

In addition, the ranchers were invited to the Hellenic Association of Furriers (HAF) where Dino Salagiannis gave a brief presentation about HAF’s cooperation with NAFA. Following this, Bobby Poulios spoke to the ranchers about the Greek fur trade, NAFA’s solicitation activities in Greece as well as the Greek marketing program for this year.

Overall, the trip was a huge success. All of the ranchers expressed thorough enjoyment of their time in Greece and left with a better understanding of the Greek fur industry and NAFA’s strong position in this market.

The NAFA group on a visit to Meteora, a UNESCO World Heritage site, approximately 130 kilometers south of Kastoria, in central Greece.

The NAFA group on a visit to Mabiz feed kitchen.

Jeff Mitchell, pictured left, and the NAFA group get a tour of Helas Mink Ranch.

A tour of Avontis Dry Station – a mink processing plant.

A tour of Ego Furs.

A tour of EXOPEL.

A visit to Divine Furs.

The NAFA group outside DTS Tannery, a fur dressing plant in Kastoria.

A vist to Siamos – Tsiflikiotis, skin dealer.

The ranchers visit Hellas International Fur Merchants, a local skin dealer.

Dino Salagiannis with ranchers at the Hellenic Association of Furriers (HAF)

The following appeared in Sentra News – Kastoria:

Interview with Mr. Jeff Mitchell 

Mr. Jeff Mitchell spoke to “Sentra News on behalf of the North American Ranchers visiting Kastoria and we had the opportunity to ask him few things regarding the fur business:

We asked him about the current auction prices and how he thinks price levels will be next year:

“In the last few years we had an overproduction of skins and along with the slower growth in the main consumer markets we experienced a drastic decrease in the skin prices. For next year the projected quantity offered will be less. So, I believe it will have a positive effect on the prices”.

He continued … “Smaller quantities offered along with high quality skins will enable us to make more profit in the future and be able to better manage our farms, invest more and have better results “.

At the end Mr. Mitchell talked about the cooperation with NAFA pointing out that the relationship is great” the NAFA management and all staff are very professional, their guidance and information is always very useful and help us make the right decisions. We are very happy with NAFA. ”

Mr. Jeff Mitchell with Bobby Poulios, Vice President Buyer Relations (NAFA)