1919 - 2019
Mihajlo (Mijo, Mihalj) Skala submitted an application for the license to open a trade shop, which he received in early 1920. It was a first auto paint shop in Subotica.
Mijo Skala, the third son of Šime and Agata Skala, started learning his trade in 1907, when he was 14 years old – he was an apprentice of craftsmen who made carriages, chariots and fiacres. He was best at painting and varnishing. Learning his trade with other craftsmen as well, he even managed to get into the renowned automobile factory Misura in Budapest, where he also acquired considerable experience.
After getting married, he opened his first shop in Subotica. Precise and pedantic, he earned the trust of Subotica’s landowners who assigned him with adorning their carriages. Relying on his tradesmanship and hard work, he began with nothing and through dedicated effort created a name for himself, a reputation, and increased his wealth.
His entrepreneurship did not let him rest on his laurels. He soon broadened his work-field to automobiles, as their numbers started growing in Subotica, thus becoming one of the only two auto paint shops at the time in the country.
He imported his first compressor from France, when nitro lacquer was introduced into use, which made his job easier. Before retirement, Mihajlo had to face innovations within his trade once more. After successfully mastering all the finesse of making carriages, working with natural paint, oils and brush, and working with nitro lacquer in a compressor, around 1965 he had to learn to work with synthetic varnishes as well.
Mihajlo Skala was a typical offshoot of the Subotica trade school: dedicated to his calling, precise, pedantic, serious, curious, enterprising, trustworthy. His son chose a stateman’s calling, but Mihajlo was lucky that his older grandson Zoltan fell in love with his grandfather’s trade. When in 1969 Mihajlo was preparing to retire, Zoltan was ready to open the shop’s doors and greet his first customers.
“Skala Zoltan – trade business, Gavrilo Princip Street 15, Subotica. Field of work: painting and varnishing cars and other metal objects. Date: 10 January 1969.” – said in the document in which grandfather Mihajlo’s shop was registered to grandson Zoltan. Mihajlo Skala knew that Zoltan was equal to the task and worthy of running the family store on his own.
In 1975, Zoltan married Vesna Nenezic, and they had two sons, Igor (born in 1976) and Srdjan (born in 1980).
The business of the Skala family, just as their name says, in the first 100 years grew just like that, step by step, scale by scale. Zoltan Skala inherited his grandfather’s enterprising spirit and he always strived to something better: he offered his customers additional ironing of damaged vehicles with the help of hydraulic pneumatic machines, protection of the car from corrosion by the so-called refinishing, and, finally, as of 1985, manufacture and embedding of plastic casings into car’s fenders. He redesigned the company’s logo, printed leaflets with his offers, and so on...
In addition to everything he did successfully, Zoltan was also a passionate sportsman – a yachtsman. On the surface of the lake Palic, his sailing boats adorned the landscape, causing curiosity and exhilaration among spectators, while, together with his wife and sons, he was making history of this beautiful sport.
The destiny of the Skala family, however, could not be denied. The job of a painter and polisher had a very negative impact on Zoltan’s health. Despite his shop’s work being finely tuned, Zoltan made a decision to switch his business to another field altogether. In 1985 in Palic, on the road to Horgos, he bought a place for a new shop and in the Zelengorska street he bought a family home.
His interest in plastic, acquired technology of processing plastic mass and shaping it, set him on a further course: manufacturing plastic objects for funeral equipment and developing irrigation systems. By joining Aurometal to his own company, Skala solved one of the crucial demands of the production he opted for: a toolroom. Thus, he created conditions for further development and gaining advantage over an increasingly numerous competition.
During the sanction years, Zoltan Skala moved a part of his manufacture to Hungary. His company Poliext Kft manufactured polyethylene pipes. He made the necessary tools in Palic, where the development service remained, as well as the manufacture of parts for the irrigation systems.
Never for a moment did Zoltan neglect the raising of his successors. The same way he himself was being prepared for life, he tried to prepare Igor and Srdjan to join and subsequently extend the family business.
At the time of the privatization in Serbia, Zoltan Skala took over the Aurometal company from Subotica. The production program of the Skala family during privatization overlapped with Aurometal’s program, making this the right move for resumption of the company’s successful business.
Zoltan’s older son launched the SkalaGreen Doo company, focusing on development of irrigation systems in agriculture. In a short period of time, the company became a synonym for modern watering systems of vegetable gardens, orchards, vineyards, crofts. He developed the business in Serbia’s entire territory (including the company branch in Zemun).
Shortly after, young Srdjan joined the business of the Skala family with his own company Skala Garden Doo, which he founded in 2005. He chose the manufacture and placement of irrigation systems for public spaces, parks, football and golf courts, and other large cultivated areas. His company found a place for itself on the market and successfully overcame numerous complex professional challenges.
Worthy of their tradition and brought up on the values which kept the Skala family and company thriving for so many years, Igor and Srdjan were dedicated in their business to the idea of being the best, state of the art, most efficient. Thus, the Skala Garden earned a status of exclusive representative of the famous US company Hunter, projecting, consulting, assembling and distributing their systems. SkalaGreen is a representative of the Israeli company ICL, unique manufacturer of mineral composts with controlled melting, as well as the most famous manufacturer of irrigation equipment NAANDANJAIN, and manufacturing program of the company POLIEXT CSOVEK KFT.
Srdjan also took over the running of the Poliext csovek kft company. Zoltan is helping them in an advisory capacity, with an idea that he could still contribute a lot to the company and his successors with his experience, knowledge and insight.
Lately, Skala Garden and Skala Green, in accordance with the tendencies in modern businesses, are working hard on developing software for the networking of all the Skala family companies, developing their toolrooms and improving the tools themselves, while introducing robotization of the certain phases of production.