Aluflor Construction Group was established by Florentia Xheko at the age of 23 years old in Albania. At that time, the business climate in this small country in Southeastern European was very difficult to navigate due to many factors, the most prominent being a lack of innovation in the construction sector and a woman operating in a traditionally male-dominated industry. With limited market controls in place, authorities and regulators lacked the basic business ambitions and held a low-quality standard in the market, yet with high focus and expectation of large financial returns. Florentia’s education and experience in Germany, however, shaped her future career ambitions by igniting a great inspiration for developing what Aluflor has become today. This time period instilled an awareness of the necessity for adherence to the high quality and standards, propelling her to role as a leader in the building envelope and façade industry in her home country.
Although unexpected family circumstances caused Florentia to return to Albania in 2004, she feels blessed and fortunate for this event that brought her closer to her homeland. “When I came back here after 16 years, my first impression was poverty and lack of happiness. This raised the thought, maybe having more visual appeal in surrounding structures and buildings was a way to improve people’s lives. It was sad and discouraging for myself also, a young and passionate women considering to live and dream but challenging in comparison to my time in Germany”, Florentia comments. Despite the many difficulties of re-adapting after this extreme reverse culture-shock, Florentia always adored her people and country while abroad, and valued its beautiful topography and its unique natural resources. Somehow, someway, she was determined to find a way to provide her life and energy to a mission of promoting this country, while serving the greater good and future of her beloved country. Soon after returning, Florentia received full financial support from her American Grandfather, Donald Larkin, who also shared in her hopes of carrying out her dreams. And, through the form of a company in the building industry, Aluflor Construction Group was created.
Despite the success, Florentia remains a simple person but highly dedicated to her company and every minute detail related to it. When asked how all of this was possible, she answers:
“If I knew from the beginning what type of difficulties awaited me, I would have never even started in this business…but I am proud that I continued down this road, because the challenges of achieving the impossible have completely changed my life as well as have affected a number of other lives of who’ve happened upon the same path as I. Now, when you ask me, I can humbly say that this sacrifice was worth every drop of sweat, and I would re-live every difficulty all over again for Aluflor and for the people they represent today in Albania and beyond”.