Made in Croatia

Coronavirus and the Blues, Without Alcohol - Meet Genox

By 23 June 2020
Coronavirus and the Blues, Without Alcohol - Meet Genox
All photos: Genox

June the 23rd, 2020 - In as much as the world is fed up with coronavirus, in a case like this one here, we cannot but feel grateful: we met this man quite a few years back and it took a global pandemic for us to find out his real name!

Zagreb is a well reputed stage of arts, all sorts, music included. To the connoisseurs, it is an attractive destination also for its clubs with jazz, blues, jam sessions - in case you're the type who is into that kind of thing.

Back then, the legendary BP Club in the heart of Zagreb was an inevitable destination to go to ''after hours''. Led by the world acclaimed jazz xylophonist Bosko Petrovic, it saw many, many big names jamming out on its small stage in an old Zagreb cellar. Underground, but world famous, to say the least.

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Among the uncountable musicians that took the stage, the BP had its permanent band. Among its members was that guy we knew as Tony Lee King, a Croat of a most interesting biography and a blues guitarist and singer
par excellence. And then, quite recently and owing to coronavirus, we met by chance again. We found out that Tony Lee King and Antonio Culina are one and the same person.

When the coronavirus began ruling over the world this March, with lockdowns and isolation and social distancing, it was not easy to find a disinfectant in the few places which had remained operational but were running short of supplies. A good friend offered help and provided a big bottle of a disinfectant called Genox.

Unlearned and ignorant, and equally curious, we carefully read its composition, origin and all the things declared on the bottle, as one would. When thanking our friend for the supply, it turned out that behind what probably is the best sanitiser around, there are unusual links to music, jamming, jazz and blues, the BP club and the good times gone by! Actually, to Tony Lee King a.k.a. Antonio Culina (or viceversa).

In brief, after quite a picturesque childhood and adolescence mainly spent in France, after uncountable street and club gigs all over Europe and in the USA, Antonio (Tony) settled back in Zagreb, continued his music career, made his own band and a brand, and he met Marijana (Cisko), an engineer of molecular biology. They started dating and moved in together.

The small pharmaceutical manufacturer Marijana worked for went bankrupt, and she wanted a business of her own.

Through many hardships, mainly related to money, and not without some luck there, however, they joined hands and started a small production of sanitisers.

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Tony needed his gigs to survive and to support the family and in reality turned into a blues guitarist with a band in the evening and a businessman in the daytime.

''I don't know what I needed more in those days, sleep or money’, says Tony candidly.

Marjana, however, proved to be an expert in her field and decided on making a sanitiser not based on alcohol, contrary to the general public belief that only alcohol can kill all of those invisible little enemies. She named it Genox, as it is based on oxygen, actually on a thirteen-step process based on activated ionised water, a process she developed herself over several years. It took many presentations, telephone calls and all other sorts of communication in order to gain some satisfactory market interest for it.

The prejudice about its lack of alcohol was a major obstacle and cast a shadow of doubt over its exceptional composition and effects. If you want to know, Genox is a clean ecological product, not inflammable, not poisonous, not harmful to kids and pets. It kills all kinds of micro-organisms, germs, viruses and bacteria, to fungus, algae, spores and mildew. It even works to make sure your skin doesn't feel dry or dehydrated following its use.

When, at the outbreak of the pandemic, the supply of industrial alcohol fell short, Genox got its ''five minutes of glory''. The demand sky-rocketed over night, more hands and a larger production equipment were needed. Genox got orders from the National Civil Protection Headquarters, from many hospitals and medical facilities, from fire brigades to institutions.

Marijana and Tony, based in Velika Gorica near Zagreb, are planning to boost both their facilities and the output by founding a factory of considerable proportions in Pleternica in Slavonia, an Eastern region of Croatia that desperately needs new initiatives, employment and new jobs.

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Tony will of course continue his night life as Tony Lee King offering a good time and relaxation with his exceptional music and talent, while Genox is breaking the Croatian borders as yet another pride of Croatian know-how and
entrepreneurship.

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For more on Croatian innovation during the coronavirus era, follow Made in Croatia.

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