Most retail stores in the Ebersberg district have to remain closed due to the pandemic at least until mid-February. The Grafinger shoe store Koppitz is also one of those affected. So Senior Walter Koppitz does one lap in the car every day, or more accurately: with a Piaggio Ape 50 with a 50 cc two-stroke engine under the windshield.
SZ: To stay in the picture of a master shoemaker: How’s it going?
Walter Koppitz: At the moment I don’t find the play on words funny anymore. Personally, I’m fine – but the rest annoys me a lot: We are the fourth generation to run two shoe stores in Grafing. They are both about 200 square meters. But I’m not even allowed to let in a single customer at the moment. Even if it were two or three people: Nobody is crowded on this large area!
It is said that necessity makes inventive…
You mean our home service? Yes, you can say that. Once a day I sit in the Piaggio Ape 50 and deliver or pick up shoes.
Please tell us.
For example, if someone calls us and wants a new shoe, we assume: a shoe that is good for a bit of slush, but does not have to be put in the closet in the spring either. I would probably ask the customer a few more questions. What color should it be? Should the shoe be rather simple or something special? Foot shape and foot width are also always important. And of course I need to know the size. Then I choose between three and seven pairs, put them in the trunk and take them with me on the next tour. I put the shoes in front of the customer’s door, he can look at them and try them on in peace. The next day he just puts the couples he doesn’t like back in front of the door for me. On the next tour, I’ll drive by and pick up the boxes again. Or, if he doesn’t like any, all of them. Of course, everything is non-binding. Of course, this also applies to the call-and-collect principle: someone calls and then picks up their shoes at my door.
You may have invented a new business model.
Absolutely no way! Such a short phone call is no substitute for advice in a business. This is just an emergency solution. I don’t even want to think about profitability. The service only compensates for a fraction of the turnover. Of course we hope that word gets around. But none of this is an option for the custom-made products that we produce here in the workshop. For older customers, however, we will keep the delivery service in the future.
What kind of people are you driving the shoes past?
Completely normal district citizens, for whom I am honestly grateful, not only in view of the current situation. Because they are people who care about local retail. Who have an awareness that the city center and the marketplace will die out if this continues with online orders. And who are aware that you will never get the service on the Internet that is a matter of course in retail. But the closed shop is unfortunately only one problem.
And the other?
That has to do with the workshop. Usually it is busy. One has to have his brogue shoes resole, another maybe recondition a shoe. But when events are no longer allowed up or down the country, the need for a nice shoe is rather low.