Bad Godesberg Two months before its closure, the stationery store begins its clearance sale. Customers get their goods by pick-up service.
Two months before its closure, the first decorative items are already on sale in the window of the traditional Gutenberg stationery store on Alte Bahnhofstraße. In addition to stationery items, toys, stationery, and office and school supplies, the store is also offering a pink fountain pen that is about two meters high and has been one of the eye-catchers in the specialty store for years. Yes, we have started the sell-out, confirms Gutenberg boss Barbara Witt. Also, those who want to buy a counter can have it, she said. "We have set up a pick-up service in the pandemic, with which previously online or telephone ordered goods can be issued at our back entrance at the Hubertinumshof," explains Witt.
In November 2020, it had become known that the specialty store, which has always helped shape Bad Godesberg, would close at the end of March. As a reason, owner Witt had given the GA the sharply declining sales figures in the Corona crisis. The roots of the stationery trade in the family business go back to 1887, when Barbara Witt's ancestor Jean Schneider opened a print shop in the backyard of a house on Moltkeplatz. The company later moved to Alte Bahnhofstraße and became the most important address for high-quality stationery, toys and office supplies in Bad Godesberg.
Witt worked in the store first alongside her father and then as the boss herself for 35 years. She shows a whimsical photo from the 1960s, which a former employee has now brought to her with tears in her eyes. It shows her grandfather Wilhelm Schneider in a circle of his employees, all dressed in black. And on a kind of white bib, each one has "Gutenberg's darlings" written on it. The employee thought back to her Gutenberg years with wistfulness, Witt says. And then she indicates high-end writing instruments for the store window at a 25 percent discount. "We also still have attractive employment games. The new school bag and backpack collection for the coming school year also still came in," the boss reports.
Her heart's desire, she says, is to be allowed to open one more time before closing for good. She says that half of her Christmas business was lost due to Corona, and the otherwise important sales month of January was also almost completely absent. Of course, all the other retailers in Godesberg suffered as a result.
What will happen to the property owned by the 59-year-old? "That's completely open," Witt answers. She hopes that a good business will succeed to the premises. There are interested parties, she said. "I have great interest in a good solution for Bad Godesberg." And what will she do herself after 35 years at Gutenberg? Witt hesitates to answer. "I don't have any plans yet," she says. For the moment, she says, she still has to be fully immersed in the business. "Then I'll take a breather first," Witt says. „And then we'll see."
Original text: Ebba Hagenberg-Miliu
Translation: Mareike Graepel