Hedda and Fritz Schestowitz foresaw the future, and in 1935, as the Nazi party’s strength grew in Germany, they packed their belongings and emigrated to Palestine. Shimon, the eldest son, was soon forced to help support the family, working in a warehouse in the morning and studying accounting in the evening. In 1945, he was discharged from service in the British Army, with a recommendation letter from an Admiral: "Anyone who will employ Shimon Schestowitz will never regret."
Ex-serviceman Shimon Schestowitz found a job as a salesman in the Taya?Tia cosmetics company. At around the same time, at the Haifa seaside he met Bella whom he later married. When their first son was born, the young father realized that "he must take things seriously and assume responsibility”. The year was 1954 and Shimon Schestowitz set out on his own, renting a small room on Nathanson street in Haifa, buying a motorcycle with a sidecar, and selling cosmetics, combs, toothpaste throughout Haifa.
Thus, Schestowitz was founded the year in which the eldest son Yoni was born.
Yitzhar accedes to the entreaties of the young agent Shimon Schestowitz, and grants him the franchise for the distribution of its products in the North. Solidox toothpastes, Mem shaving cream, soaps, tweezers and nail files, hair colors, naphthalene and perfumes by Alpha, Craftision and Shifer. The orders flow in, and a second son, Miki, is born to the Schestowitzs. The mother serves as the orders and accounting manager, while the father distributes the merchandise, employs a secretary and upgrades the motorcycle to a Susita (Israeli made car).
In 1963, the Israeli government announces the liberalization of import restrictions, and Shimon Schestowitz travels to London and returns with three contracts in his pocket: an exclusive license to import Gillette products, exclusive distribution rights to Yardley soaps, and an exclusivity agreement with the Addis toothbrush brand.
Retailers in Haifa are already well acquainted with Mr. Schestowitz. Encouraged by the successful sale of the brands, that sold at a dizzying pace, Shimon seeks more and more brands, and places on the shelves Helen Curtis perfumes, Henna Gora hair colors, Bali soaps and more. The warehouses are bursting at the seams with merchandise, so the business moves to a building on Haifa’s banking street, with an exciting innovation: an elevator.
In 1975 Yoni is discharged from the navy, moves to Tel Aviv, and begins to establish contacts in in the central region, and in the evening studies at the College of Management. The first used truck is purchased, and Yoni adds new brands – orthopedic back support belts, Yves Saint Laurent’s perfume Rive Gauche, Magic Touch makeup pencils and Benson products. Perfumeries, drug stores and department stores become regular customers, and the apartment becomes much too small. It's time to expand: another agent is employed and offices are opened on Idelson Street, with a full time secretary.
In 1976, in the wake of the Arab boycott, Colgate Company seeks new markets, and Shimon Schestowitz realizes the potential and travels to the company's offices in London to persuade them to grant him the distribution license. And he succeeds. A few months later, the first container of Colgate Palmolive products, bearing the importer’s labels, docks in Haifa port.
Lemon scented Fresh soap, Albright toothpaste and Soft & Gentle deodorant fill the shelves, and the warehouse on the banking street overflows with merchandise. In 1980, the company moves into a huge structure in Haifa Bay. Yoni develops a nationwide distribution system for the company, and sets up a network with sales and distribution agents that are all company employees. With more and more trucks, the modern distribution network captures markets throughout the country, from Dan to Eilat.
The retail market in Israel undergoes a transformation. In 1978, the first SuperPharm branch is opened, and Schestowitz recognizes that the game and its rules are changing, and air the first Colgate commercial "4 cents in the morning .... 4 cents at night ... and you have healthier teeth. Colgate - the world's number 1".
More and more luxury cosmetic products are added to Schestowitz’ the portfolio of brands. International companies such as Guerlain, Sisley and Revlon establish the company’s international-prestigious image under the direction of Miki Schestowitz. The company expands into the field of electrical appliances with Braun products and Duracell batteries. In 1996, a new logistics center is opened in Tirat HaCarmel – the most modern, efficient and sophisticated center of its kind.
The new millennium brought with it expansion into new fields – into the food sector. Barilla, Alfaro, Pompadour Tea, Rio Mare, Kellogg all reach the local supermarket shelves. Schestowitz’ management moves into its newly designed offices in Petach Tikva. The company updates its offices with advanced technologies and upgrades to a SAP system.
2007 – the company’s founder Shimon Schestowitz passes away, yet his life’s work and vision continue to grow.
Yoni Schestowitz purchases Miki’s shares, and leads the company in new directions with the purchase of Mana plant – adding new snacks to the Israeli shopping basket; the Master Chef brand offering new products; and start of distribution of Carmit and Merba candy and confectionaries.
Schestowitz celebrates its 60th anniversary with a wide range of brands, and a view to the future.