How a Bergedorf retailer is fighting the crises


How a Bergedorf retailer is fighting the crises

“A range that you want to touch”: Ralph Ottensmeyer with a magnetic calendar and an unusual writing implement.

“A range that you want to touch”: Ralph Ottensmeyer with a magnetic calendar and an unusual writing implement.

Photo: Thomas Voigt

Ralph Ottensmeyer opened his “writing culture” in the Sachsentor before the pandemic. His strategies against this and other crises.

Hamburg. “We had imagined it to be easier,” says Ralph Ottensmeyer. Almost three years ago, in August 2020, he and his wife opened it specialty store “Writing Culture” was the successor of Papyrus im Sachsentor in Bergedorf at. Four months later, in the middle of the Christmas business, the retail trade had to close due to the corona – a serious blow for Ottensmeyer, who had to make do with “call and collect” trading with makeshift counters on the shop door for five months.

Nonetheless, towards the end of his third year, he moves to Bergedorf shopping mall a predominantly positive balance: “The state aid got us over the dry spell at the time.” As a newcomer to the industry, Ralph Ottensmeyer needed a whole year until he had found out which range he could use to impress Bergedorf customers.

Retailers in the Sachsentor: His strategies against the crises

But he also had to realize that Corona is not the only problem in stationary retail. “I found it surprising that the closure of Staples on the Curslacker Neuen Deich didn’t give us a bit of a boost,” describes the chemist, who set up his own business for the first time with “Writing Culture”. He found out: “Nowadays, customers buy simple items such as printer paper or disposable ballpoint pens on the Internet and no longer in stores. Staples had a reason to go out of business.”

If you want to survive with your specialist shop, your product range must not be off the peg, he recognised. And you have to stage shopping for your customers as an experience. “You make customers happy with items that you want to touch before you buy them,” says Ottensmeyer, pointing to an attractive magnetic calendar amidst hundreds of writing implements, greeting cards, gift items, notepads and booklets (a total of almost 2,000 items on 100 square meters of retail space). the curves of which are shifted daily balls for the day of the week, the date or the month. “It’s fun to play around with.”

The be-all and end-all: advice, advice, advice

According to Ottensmeyer, the customer also prefers to pick up high-quality fountain pens or ballpoint pens before making a purchase. “We simply offer better shopping quality than the Internet.” And of course: advice, advice, advice. This is just as much in demand when buying writing implements as when it comes to equipping school beginners – even if “Schreibkultur” has completely given up its range of satchels this year: “Not enough space. We can’t keep up with what Hartfelder am Kupferhof has to offer.”

The retailer does not have high expectations of the recently started city management, which is to move in together with an artist and craftsman’s house in the former “Only” branch near Bergedorfer Markt: “What is supposed to happen there still sounds very vague to me. The two ladies need at least a year to find their bearings. And her contract only runs for two and a half years.” Ottensmeyer believes that anyone who relies on the help of others will ultimately be left to their own devices. “You have to set something in motion yourself.” By this he means, for example, the delicious dips that he served in front of the shop on the last Sunday that was open for business. He also has a lot on his agenda for the next shopping weekend on July 1st and 2nd: checking and cleaning pens by the Lamy company, T-shirts for school beginners, painting competitions, throwing cans for children, spinning balloon animals, blowing bubbles.

Talking to small and large customers, dealing with them positively – that is Ralph Ottensmeyer’s recipe. “Dealing with people is just something beautiful. If I beam at them, they beam back.” He will soon be donating shopping vouchers worth 300 euros to the Mohnhof kindergarten. “Then the children will find their way to our shop.” Other daycare centers in Bergedorf and the surrounding area are to follow.”

Saturday, May 20th, 2023, 4:28 p.m

More articles from this category can be found here: Bergedorf (district)

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