STORES AND STORIES AROUND THE WORLD
From a small carpentry business to an international player across global markets and sectors, umdasch The Store Makers has celebrated its 150th anniversary year with an increasingly integrated physical/digital offer, working with some of the world’s best known retailers and brands.
This has been a landmark year for umdasch The Store Makers. Not only has the Austrian-based company celebrated its 150th anniversary but in recent years it has transformed its business, reflecting the increasing importance of digital solutions within physical retail space. With its new brand position – “love digital, love analogue” – and renaming from Umdasch Shopfitting to umdasch The Store Makers, the company has set out a bold vision for the future, as it continues to expand across its markets and over 7,000 store fit-out projects annually.
While perhaps best known still for the company’s extensive shopfitting capabilities, the modern-day umdasch The Store Makers is in fact a much more diverse business, both in terms of its capabilities and geographic reach. At the heart of this is a transformational decision to embrace digital, which is already reaping the benefits. Continuing its retail pedigree, the company has also worked on a number of flagship projects this year, including the renovation of the Harrods Food Halls, Selfridges Optical, a Stuart Weitzman rollout, Versace flagship store, Khaadi in the UK and the Middle East and many more. Roman Fussthaler, Managing Director Division Premium Retail of umdasch, likes to mention that “2018 saw us opening several outstanding retail environments of which we are very proud.”
Love digital, love analogue
“The Digital Retail unit is still young but has left its infancy behind it. It is maturing slowly but surely into a leading provider of digital signage, multi-sensual experiences, electronic price labelling and visitor flow analysis,” says Roman Fussthaler. “We are integrating technology and the digital possibilities into both stores and furniture. Digital Retail has opened up another perspective on the market, just as customers see us differently today from perhaps a few years ago. Over the past year we have seen a pleasing confirmation of our strategy. Correspondingly, we are continuing to develop towards becoming a service provider with an industrial base, which offers customers outstanding service, conceptual competence and integration of new technologies.” He adds: “For us, ‘We make successful stores’ is, and remains, our mantra. We hope that we are able to convince our customers of that, and that we shall continue to do so in the future. That – and only that – is our raison d’être.”
From a carpentry to an international rollout expert
The origins of the business date all the way back to 1868 when Stefan Hopferwieser – great-grandfather of the present owners Hilde Umdasch and Alfred Umdasch – founded a small carpentry company in the Lower Austrian village of Kollmitzberg. Seeking to expand, he relocated to the district town Amstetten, where a new traffic junction was built, and this remains the headquarters for the global business. The arrival of son-in-law Josef Umdasch into the company prompted continuous development of business areas, the opening up of new markets and constant expansion of the service portfolio, as the partners “rethought” the company, in turn creating two divisions: Doka formwork technology and Umdasch Shopfitting (today umdasch The Store Makers). Maintaining the family link, Josef‘s two children, daughter Hilde Umdasch and son Alfred Umdasch, joined the company in the 1960s and today they work in supervisory functions.
In 2018, the company’s 150th anniversary, the company remains committed to “rethinking” itself. umdasch’s Store Makers are now dealing with far more than the classic design, production and assembly of shop furniture, evolving into a service provider, from an analogue manufacturer of ‘hardware’ to a digitally-oriented company. Today, umdasch is a project management company dedicated exclusively to one goal: creating successful stores.
Expertise and expansion
As part of this transformation, around three years ago umdasch bought shopfitting company Story Design, based in the Czech Republic and Russia, and took over the luxury manufacturer ATT in Croatia at the end of 2017. A newly-built logistics centre at umdasch’s largest production site in Styria, Austria will provide an even better platform for handling international rollout projects in the future. The company has also divided its comprehensive service portfolio into a number of categories: Consulting & Value Engineering; Project Management; General Contracting; Shop Equipment; Digital Retail and the Shop Academy, which offers a wide range of knowledge management for decision makers, with extensive day seminars, tailor-made company packages and worldwide trends tours with retail experts. So, whether it’s a flagship store or a rollout – The Store Makers of umdasch can implement the retail concepts of well-known architects and retail designers or, on request, supply a complete package from the original concept to the finished shop as a General Contractor. Around 20 locations in Europe and the Middle East guarantee sophisticated logistics for every requirement. In addition, the Digital Retail professionals from umdasch take care of the ideal integration of digital signage, electronic price labelling, etc at the point of sale.