E. József Auguszt and Vilma Helvey
- József Auguszt originally wanted to become a sculptor. His talent was shown at a very young age: his graphics and the drawings in his recipe book he started as a student are clearly proving it. From his plastic artwork one bust statue and a sugar statue of the legend of Saint László King became the most famous. With this latter he took part at the Millennial Expo in 1896 and the jury honored him with a diploma of recognition. Finally he made his decision to carry on the family traditions and became a confectioner. The statue was exhibit in the Kristina Boulevard shop in a glass cabinet, till it was destroyed with the confectionery in 1944 when Budapest was bombed.
He already started the innovation in the Attila Street shop, next to her mom: he realized the needs of the fancy customers, and while Gerbeaud in Pest was the master of French „petit four”, he started to produce English tea cakes, that was a shortage at that time in Budapest. Later they started to produce chocolate products and dragees, too.
As he wanted to improve himself constantly, first in 1900 he went to Vienna, then Paris, and finally to London. After he had come back he married Vilma Helvey, who was the daughter of a wine trader in Pest. She became the life long partner of József E. Auguszt in flourish Auguszt Confectionery. One year later their daughter Erzsébet was born, but the awaited „heir to the throne” was born in just 1912. During the years they opened more and more subsidiaries, till the „big work of art” was open in Krisztina Square 3. This is the very exclusive shop that now is called as „the Buda style Gerbeaud”. Amongst the guests you can find Sándor Márai, Endre Bajcsy-Zsilinszky, Béla Bartók and Prince Albrecht.
The owner’s passion for art didn’t fade away during all those years: he became a patron and a collector, and every piece he had was exhibited in the shop. With his wife they became well known citizens of the capital, Vilma Helvey was a true style icon, and she also organized fashion shows in the confectionery, which was a real innovation at that time. Between the two world wars they had the brightest years: beyond the excellent quality the service and the presentation of the sweets were world class, too. „Miss Augusts” in the service team were really pretty, blonde, tall girls, and they were legends in Budapest.
While the head of the family spent most of his time in the shop or collecting art, Lady Vilma loved to visit the big cities of Europe and the famous holiday spots, and she was always found inspiration to use to improve their business and products. In 1915 they opened Auguszt Pavilion in Hidegkúti Street, that became a popular summer destination, and in 1922 they also bought a hotel in Abbazia. Most of their guests were fans of the confectionery. They loved to develop their business all the time.
This dynamism was broken by World War 3: it was difficult to provide the ingredients, and it was bad for the business. In 1944 a bomb destroyed a big part of the shop and the first floor of the building where the family lived. His son, Elemér performed military service in the East front, then he was captured, and he returned in 1947. With his father he rebuilt the shop at Krisztina Square. József E. Auguszt died soon after the reopening in 1948. The only consolation for the family was the fact that at least he didn’t have to see the nationalization of it. His wife, Vilma Helvey died in 1955.