Movers & Shakers

Shopping & fine food: the Spielburg shop

Interview with Kristina Nußbaumer
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Managing directors (Dieter and Krisitina) of the store Spielburg
Kristina and Dieter, Managing Directors of Spielburg

Spielwarenmesse:

The Spielburg concept combines brick-and-mortar retail with gastronomic offers. How did you come up with this idea?

Kristina Nußbaumer: 

Ten years ago, a fairly large shop became vacant in Blaustein. It was too big for our Spielburg, which was a brick-and-mortar shop at the time. However, I had always dreamed of having a small but nice book café. That’s what we were then able to do. We started with three café tables and steadily expanded the catering area as demand grew. In the meantime, we have almost 50 seats on our terrace and 40 seats inside between our cabinets and bookshelves.

gift cabinet Spielburg
Gift cabinet with many different products

Spielwarenmesse:

How important is it for you to combine classic shopping with things that shoppers can experience? 

Kristina Nußbaumer: 

Our shop and café really represent a symbiosis. Guests who come for breakfast and a coffee will eventually go to the toilet and walk past the games shelf and gift cabinet. That’s where desires are awakened. When customers buy a gift from us, they spontaneously arrange to meet friends for a cappuccino or they meet acquaintances by chance and have a coffee together. Meanwhile, children can play in our Spielburg castle, in which we’ve put lots of books, toys and small games. With our game rental service, our customers can also try out games at their leisure at home for a small fee. If they then decide to buy the game, we deduct the rental fee from the purchase price.

Spielwarenmesse:

The lockdown to try to contain the Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on business in the retail sector. What impact did the integrated café have on Spielburg?

Kristina Nußbaumer:

Our two mainstays – the shop and the café – complemented each other extremely well, even in pandemic times. We always stayed open and were able supply our customers and guests from our takeaway area.

Gastro area Spielburg
Insight into the gastro area of Spielburg

Spielwarenmesse:

How much do customers use the café? 

Kristina Nußbaumer:  

Since the concept was expanded to include our café ten years ago, the gastronomic side of our business has been developing steadily. From breakfast and lunch to cakes, pies and ice-cream sundaes, we have an ever-increasing demand for table reservations. Our guests and customers feel comfortable with us and our team. That’s why we have lots of regulars. Some come every day and others once a week, while some meet up with friends or family just once a month.

Spielwarenmesse:

What other ideas or dreams would you like to achieve in the future?

Kristina Nußbaumer:

We love organising events. Readings, cabaret, breakfast with music and open games meetings are always a lot of fun for us. We also offer our shop as an event location and have already hosted some family celebrations and weddings. We really need to put the pandemic behind us and get back on track. But it’s really hard for us to find suitable and good staff – both in our retail and in our catering sector. That really has to change, too.

Spielwarenmesse:

Are there any innovative store concepts that have inspired you and have given you some ideas for your shop?

Kristina Nußbaumer:

We always look around all the cities we go to and regularly visit other cafés or shops that have a small café area. That way we see a lot of things, always take away with us what is suitable for us and try out new things. However, I think we are already really good and have already carried out an infinite number of ideas. My son Johannes is responsible for all the details in the café area. He has his finger on the pulse and carries out the new challenges with a great deal of love and gastronomic knowledge. Recently, we have had a good nose for buying the right things that we offer in our shop. When it comes to games for toddlers, children, teenagers and families, we are the first port of call here in the region. In our baby section in particular, we have a very large selection for parents-to-be as well as grandmas and grandpas. In our toy section, we do without all the big players such as Barbie, plastic toys, Playmobil, merchandising articles and the like. We sell high-quality toys from well-known games publishers such as the Spiegelburg Collection from Coppenrath Verlag, HABA, GOKI, Magellan, ARS, Thienemann, Amigo, Kosmos and many more.

Spielwarenmesse:

Digitalisation is a major challenge for the retail sector. But which store concepts do you think will continue to be successful in the future?

Kristina Nußbaumer:

You hear everywhere in the media that it’s no longer possible to keep going in the retail trade if you don’t have your own online shop. We don’t agree with that. We want to expand as brick-and-mortar retailers, focus on regionality, and offer good advice, perfect service and additional services such as gift wrapping. For us, everything revolves around the direct contact between our customers and our sales staff. We address our customers by name, we see the children grow up and greet them by name. Birthday boxes, gift suggestions, a good, personally selected range of toys and books – that’s the niche we occupy. In online retail, we would be just one among many and we can’t afford the necessary advertising using Google Ads. In our café, we want to become even more professional and add other services.

Spielwarenmesse: 

And how do you think the town centres will develop in the future?

Kristina Nußbaumer:

Blaustein is a small town with 16,000 inhabitants. The communities surrounding us also come to us to shop, because regional shopping is very important in our small town. Ulm is 10 km away and is the big city in our catchment area. But there are only a few toy retailers there. That’s why we are the ones that people like to shop at. The quality of stay in the town centres has to be right; we definitely need enough parking spaces in our small town. And our city administration and trade association must finally learn that retail and gastronomy are THE things that make our little town attractive and that need support.

Spielwarenmesse:

Ms Nußbaumer, thank you very much for talking to us.

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