Interview • 02.05.2013

"It is essential to slow down the migration to cities"

Interview with Knut John, tegut... Sales Director

Knut John: We gladly surrender space for products to offer people a local...
Knut John: 'We gladly surrender space for products to offer people a local meeting place'
Source: tegut...

Not having to drive for miles for everyday purchases is a service that more and more people learn to appreciate in rural communities. With the campaign "shops for everything", tegut... now promotes new local supply models. How this concept looks like and how the "shop" can also strenghten the village community, explains Knut John, tegut... Sales Director, in this interview.

How did you come up with the idea for the ”store for everything” (“Lädchen für alles“ in German) and what trends in retail and society is tegut responding to with this new concept?

We are searching for answers to the questions, demographic change is challenging us with. It is essential to slow down the migration to cities. We want to supply people with great foods right where they live, avoid unnecessarily long distances and ensure local supply.

How is the “store for everything” different from other local suppliers?

For us, local really means nearby; the market can be reached on foot and is located in the middle of the village/neighborhood whenever possible. What’s special is that we also take the tegut.. “store for everything” seriously as the new social epicenter and communication exchange for the village/neighborhood. We gladly surrender space for products to offer people a local meeting place. Three pillars determine the success of the tegut… “store for everything”: the core business, good food, service and the social meeting place.

Part of the concept is the integration of a service provider in every store. Which industry sectors are represented in the stores and why were they specifically chosen?

These are service segments that have disappeared and that people want. We analyze this beforehand by talking with people. The typical requests are to have a post office, an opportunity to make bank withdrawals and a place that sells lottery tickets, among other things. We try to offer this service, if the service provider is also willing to do this, which is not always easy.

What does the product selection look like in the stores and how important are local products?

Local food plays an important role and not just for the tegut… store concept. We try to obtain as many local manufacturers as possible to offer their products in our store. The tegut…variety of goods includes all the components typically available in a supermarket. The “store for everything” is a miniature supermarket. The store offers between 3,000 and 4,500 articles, ranging from discount items, the tegut.. store brand with the purity pledge, brand products and of course organic articles.

The customer has a great selection and is able to meet his/her needs based on his/her standards. Incidentally, we do not have different pricing in our “store for everything” compared to our other tegut.. markets. This is important for our customers; there is not a so-called added charge for logistical costs, as is customary with other competitors. Regardless of where the customer shops at tegut.. , all prices are the same.

How is the “store for everything” being accepted in communities?

It would be presumptuous to say that acceptance is always 100%. No, there are definitely also villages we overestimated and where we did not achieve the forecasted sales. However, this is usually only true in isolated cases. It also needs to be said that if we are not wanted and the locals are not accepting the store despite the great commitment by individuals, we will leave again.

Our concept is well known far beyond tegut… terrain, especially because we work with many social partners. These businesses work within the scope of disability inclusion and see the tegut… store as an ideal platform to integrate disabled persons. This is a win for our society that cannot be measured monetarily like so many “added benefits” we generate for the village, but something we are unable to immediately substantiate with an index number for our profit-driven society. With this concept, we make an important contribution to the social market economy.

How is the collaboration with political decision-makers and local administration and who takes on what responsibilities during planning and opening of new stores?

Collaboration is usually great, simply because communities generally approach us and request a store. I just mentioned social market economy and this becomes apparent in the collaboration with local authorities. We determine on location what the task assignments ultimately look like, since every village/neighborhood has different prerequisites.

Are you planning to open more stores?

Yes, this year we are going to add at least 4 new stores, continue to work on the development of existing tegut… stores and refine them based on local consumer needs.

The Interview was conducted by Daniel Stöter

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