Interview with Martin Stolz
Martin Stolz, owner and managing director of the “Kaufhaus Martin Stolz GmbH” department store chain on the building of 5 new stores.
„Experts on complex matters “
If you travel through the north of Germany, you are sooner or later bound to come across the characteristic black on white logo of the STOLZ department store chain. You can find nearly anything you could imagine at one of the chain's 30 stores, which operate under the motto of “Cheap can be this good”. From everyday to sporting apparel, shoes, toys, gifts, appliances, fishing equipment, cosmetics and much more at bargain prices. If you can't visit in person, you can also shop online! We speak to the enthusiastic entrepreneur about competition in the online realm as well as the importance of growth and the role HAB had in that.
Mr. Stolz, the internet is competing for market share with over-the-counter sales outlets. How do you see and react to this development?
I find this development somewhat alarming. Over-the-counter sales outlets do still exist, and the media tell us that they can continue to do so even with increasing internet sales. I, however, don't believe that this is really possible, especially when it comes to small retailers. They will, at some time, have fully disappeared from our streets. That will be a shame, as in local stores, people can really see and touch the products before buying them, can meet people and communicate with them. Our own company, however, is in a good position; our subsidiaries are doing well and we have our online shop up and running.
You are continually expanding your network of branches. Currently, you have 30 stores across the whole of northern Germany. Why is it important to you to have a lot of stores?
The more branches we have, the higher the amount we can buy. And the higher the amount bought is, the lower the price per unit becomes. That's reflected in our sales prices. Our customers profit from that. And we have to compete with Primark and the like, too.
HAB, working as a general contractor, built 5 stores for you in 2010. Why did you decide for this company?
That was pure luck, and I was really truly lucky! We needed a new store as soon as possible. I called Andreas Pörsch [managing director, HAB] on the off chance that he could help, and we got on splendidly from the get-go. Voila!
Which special requirements did the building require?
It had to have a suspended ceiling, meaning it needed to have as few supports as possible, while fulfilling the fire safety specifications. It had to be resistant to weathering. We also wanted flexibility. For us, that means that we would have the possibility to disassemble the building and reassemble it at a different location, if needed. And it all had to be done very quickly. HAB fulfilled all our wishes to the letter.
How would you rate your working relationship with HAB? What did you particularly enjoy?
The company is extremely competent. The employees took care of everything. Whenever we had a question, we got an answer straight away. Our architect also really enjoyed working together with HAB. They really are experts on complex and high caliber matters. HAB's standards are really high. You notice that the moment you visit their company premises. It's so clean that you could eat from the floors!
Where there any difficulties that had to be overcome during construction?
With HAB, there are no difficulties. In other words: they don't even exist.
HAB is a vision lead company. Could you feel that while working with us?
I find that a great concept. They've applied it consistently and are very successful with it. You can feel it, because nothing seems to be too complicated for them. They always find a solution of the highest quality.