The Active Store opened its shop doors for the first time at the end of June. It is set in the Welcome Centre of the Harz National Park. With its 400 square metres of floorspace, it is the smallest Globetrotter store. Nevertheless, it offers everything a day trip tourist needs, like clothes, backpacks, shoes, maps and pocket knives. Soon you can also hire GPS devices and boulder mats.
The value of the location easily beats the size of the store: The Active Store is set in the Harz resort, with a view to the legendary Brocken. Next to it are a hotel, lodges, restaurants and an information centre. In the store you can book outdoor tours which are offered in cooperation with the Globetrotter Academy. These include tours such as hikes to the Brocken at sunrise or snowshoe trips.
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Globetrotter manager Thomas Lipke talks about the how and why.
Thomas, you are allowed to praise the new store, but please leave out the platitude “small but impressive”.
No problem. The Active Store in Torfhaus is based on a new strategy: Globetrotter offers information, workshops and equipment for rent and sale at a place where people are already outdoors. The Frank- furt store is indeed ten times bigger, but on 400 square metres we have managed to stock quite a good range of equipment tailored to suit local activities. The store is open all year, also on 40 Sundays a year.
What can you do at Torfhaus over the year?
Only the 4-Seasons editors located in Bavaria would ask something like this! Torfhaus is the outdoor Mecca in the North. From spring to autumn it is a paradise for hiking, cycling and rock climbing. I’ve spent many weekends here with sleeping bag, rope and harness. During winter, the Harz is perfect for ski and snow-shoe tours. There was so much snow this year we even had to postpone the opening.
Do customers expect different products than in the city?
We want to find that out. The store is a pilot project, we are already learning a lot. The weather can be tough up there, and customers will react spontane- ously. Our store manager Christian Moog is already bragging about having biggest rain chamber of all the stores – right on his door step. On the opening day, all the storm-proof trekking umbrellas were sold out. On another occasion, a ten-year old girl bought new shoes so the family could keep on hiking because she had lost both soles of her old boots. Also, the first GPS courses which we offer together with the Globetrotter Academy, are already well booked.
Will Globetrotter open up more compact stores near the wilderness?
We don’t rule that out, but for now we are keen to put our strategy to the test in Torfhaus. The next store will be bigger! Globetrotter Stuttgart will be opening on the 14 September 2014 boasting 6,000 square meters of floorspace – and an altitude of 270 metres. Not small. It will pack a punch for sure!
28. August 2013, Text: 4-Seasons | Translation: Cindy Ruch