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Customer numbers decline before closures: Bad Godesberg retailers fear for their future

Customer numbers decline before closures : Bad Godesberg retailers fear for their future

Even before the drastic measures taken by the German government, many retailers in Bad Godesberg were already experiencing a decline in customers. The Stadtmarketing Bad Godesberg association helps its members and provides information about state aid and legal possibilities.

18 degrees and sunshine are usually a guarantee for a good business day at Katrin Ritzeler. But since little is normal at the moment in view of the corona virus, she waits for customers in her "juice oasis" on Theaterplatz. "The weather is nice, but the city is relatively empty," says Ritzeler.

Her greatest concern in view of the announcements of the Federal Government: "If the shops are closed, I don't know whether I belong to the food industry or not." To strengthen the immune system, she recommends ginger - and mango, which contains more vitamin C than orange.

Axel Bergfeld faces completely different problems with his organic supermarket. "We are currently working with a skeleton crew and therefore do not open until 10 a.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m.", says the manager of the store on Alte Bahnhofstrasse. Among other things, one employee is in quarantine because her roommate tested positive, and one because he is a returnee from Italy. In addition, there are still mothers who now have to care for their children at home, and then there are the normal sick leaves. They are therefore worried that they will be able to continue working: "Especially since our customers are not panic buying, but are still very active.

Barbara Ter-Nedden from the parking bookstore classifies customer traffic as "mediocre". "We have already had noticeably fewer visitors in the last two weeks, which is why I have sent two employees on vacation," says the owner. Anyone who wants to buy guaranteed virus-free can order a book by phone. "Then as soon as possible, someone will get on their bike and bring the book by," says the owner.

Even if the announcements of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the evening suggest otherwise, Ter-Nedden is confident: "Literature is spiritual food and therefore at least as important as toilet paper," she said in an allusion to the hamster purchases. The drugstore dm is said to no longer sell it. Because, as Marketing Director Sebastian Beyer explains, the employees made sure that coveted products such as toilet paper and soap "were only sold in quantities customary in households“.

In general, there was less activity last week, say Gabriele Schäfer and Klaus Krosanke of Bücher Bosch. Except on Fridays and Saturdays. Because when it was announced that schools and daycare centers would be closed, many parents stormed the bookstore to buy games and children's and young people's books. But what happens if they have to close their stores? Then there's online trading, says Krosanke. For years now, people have been running a web shop, and telephone orders are also possible. Short-time work was already a topic. "But so far, everything is on a voluntary basis," emphasizes Krosanke.

Gert Schugt, owner of Lederwaren Schugt, sees the Corona crisis as a great challenge. "There have been fewer customers, last week was very busy." Stretching deliveries of goods, asking suppliers for value dates, cancelling orders - Schugt has played through various scenarios. State aid is also an option for ordered closures. "But I fear that the institutions entrusted with this will be hopelessly overloaded with the flood of applications." The last time it had been so violent was in 2001, after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. "That's when the baggage business got back on track. But now we don't know how long it will last," said Schugt.

Even before the German Chancellor announced far-reaching closures, Werner Zorn had already closed his optician shop. As a purely preventative measure, as he emphasizes. In the optical industry, direct customer contact is unavoidable. This must be minimized in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

Nevertheless, he continues to keep the business running, and he does so by making appointments. "Then I can devote myself to the customer in a targeted but controlled manner," says Zorn. There are negative economic consequences, he said. However, these were not so much the result of the temporary closure as the falling demand and the breaking off of supply chains.

Information about state aid and legal possibilities is available from the Stadtmarketing association, through which the retailers are organised. "In any case, we can tell you who to turn to," says Chairman Jürgen Bruder. His experience: Some business people are concerned, but many are optimistic. Despite the crisis.

(Original text: Silke Elbern and Ayla Jacob; Translation: Mareike Graepel)