The Go family has always had an enterprising streak. They had a biscuit, cake and peanut shop, and sold bread, flour, vegetables, and whiskey too. As you can see on the picture, oma (grandma) even had a clothes shop at the age of 28.
Starting in 1950, opa (granddad) and oma Go and their seven children gradually moved to the Netherlands, finally settling on the Van Lijndenlaan in Naarden, in an ordinary corner house with a garage behind it. Soon, spicy cooking aromas started to rise from both the kitchen and the garage, spreading throughout the neighbourhood.
In 1954, Father Frans Go started working with opa in the garage, frying and baking Indonesian and oriental snacks and founding ‘Go en zoon’. All sisters and brothers lent a helping hand. They made Katjang Shanghai (crunchy peanuts), Bumbu (herb and spice mixes), Gado Gado (a salad of boiled vegetables), Krupuk (prawn crackers) and Teng Teng (peanut candy).
In 1955, Oma Go opened Restaurant ‘Hokkie’ (‘Happiness’) on the Singel in Amsterdam. Here, too, the entire family helped until late into the night.
Go & Zoon production moved to the Gerard Doustraat in Amsterdam, and they opened a shop called ‘Warung Kita’, where the products were sold. The company started producing things such as Santen (concentrated coconut crème) and Serundeng (sautéed, grated coconut).
Because the nut counters of the four Bijenkorf shops ordered so many Shanghai nuts, Frans Go invented a new production technique using coating pans. This technique is still used by many manufacturers. As such, Pa Go (pictured on the right) became the ‘inventor of the crispy cocktail nut’.
For a number of years the company had a partner called Mr Tan, and the name of the company was changed to ‘Go-Tan’. In 1962, it was time to expand, and a new production space was found in Badhoevedorp on the Badhoevelaan. The company made a lot of Bumbus, but also Rempeyek (fried peanut cookies), Sambal Goreng Kentang (fried potatoes in chilli sauce) and large Krupuk (prawn crackers). Oma visited every day to fry Rempeyek or Krupuk, as this photograph shows.
In 1966, it truly became necessary to find a proper production facility. Such a facility was found in Rhenen, on the Vogelenzang. The production techniques invented by Frans Go became increasingly professional. His sister Poppy, who still lived in Indonesia, was a good cook and came over to help with the recipes, bringing her recipe book with her.
Fairs and pasars were important points of contact with the public.
Opening the new business premises
Frans Go had new business premises built on land he bought on the Spoorstraat in Kesteren. In 1975, the business celebrated the inauguration of the new premises.
Pictured: Oma Go 3rd person from the left, Frans Go in white shirt and tie, aunt Poppy with flowers, current director Bing looking back in green polo shirt, deputy and creative director Han Go on the ground in an orange shirt, commissioner and co-owner Cliff Go in green tank top.
On the picture Frans Go is checking the authentic Bumbus (Indonesian mixed herbs and spices).
Together with his sales director Lodewijk Tan, he ensured that the products gradually became widely available in the supermarkets. The ‘snack Krupuk’ (prawn crackers) became an especially important product.
This year, the company lost Frans Go (centre), who died at the age of 54 after a chronic illness. Lodewijk Tan took over the management. At the time, Frans Go’s sons - Cliff, Bing and Han - were 22, 20 and 14 years old respectively. Together with mother Go, they became major shareholders of Go-Tan. The sons decided to first finish their studies and gain work experience outside Go-Tan.
After finishing their studies, working for other companies, and running a Toko chain together, Bing and Han Go decided to become company directors after Mr Tan’s retirement. Oldest brother Cliff had a banking career in Jakarta and Singapore and became commissioner at Go-Tan. The company was now fully owned by the three brothers.
As ‘stir-fry’ pioneers, Go-Tan developed and successfully marketed ‘Wok Essentials’. The colour purple gradually became the brand colour for Go-Tan products.
The 50th anniversary of the business was celebrated in style with family, friends and relations. Of course, all families got together and plenty of excellent homemade food was served.
Through the Foodservice market, Go-Tan Chilli Sauce became a favourite in Dutch households.
The first low budget commercial ‘Raad van Toezicht’ with Frans Go’s sisters was broadcast by regional broadcasters.
The brothers Go at the Go-Tan stand on the Paris SIAL Food Fair. By now, Go-Tan products were sold across Europe. Thanks to Go-Tan, Krupuk also became known as Pétales Crevettes, Rekerchips, Pan de Gambas and Prawn Crackers.
New variants were added to the key Krupuk line, and the packaging got a ‘family feel’ with a picture of Han, his children, 2 nieces, a nephew, an aunt, a great-aunt and an uncle – all ‘Go’ family members – on the front.
The successful new Krupuk line with the family members on the packaging was backed by the first national Go-Tan commercial, with Han himself and aunt Poppy's actual recipe book taking centre stage.
This modified Citroën bus now travels throughout the Netherlands and has even went to Belgium and Norway!
The bus can be found on many student orientation days and festivals. Have you seen the bus?
This anniversary was celebrated with family, friends and business associates. The decoration attached on the front of the factorywall was a gift from the staff to the brothers Go. In the summer of this year we opened our factory doors to the local public.