For centuries they were fixtures in the city, when small crafts and shops enlivened Innsbruck. Back then, when locksmiths and ropemakers dominated entire streets. When people traded and haggled under the arbours and when the Schildwirtshäuser were a hive of activity. It was a time when even an emperor could ban a p ub in Innsbruck.
You will ask yourselves what is the matter with me. No, I don't want to go back to the Middle Ages. Still, I shudder at the thought that the very last small shops still existing in the city centre and the old town are falling victim to the 'cheap is cool' mentality and the online ordering mania.
Those who know me and my blogs know that I am a fanatical supporter of local products and local production. I love the small shops especially when they seem to be from another era. For me, what they offer is what I understand by identity. What stands out in all cases is the sales staff in these shops, who can answer even the most unusual questions.
To make matters worse, Corona is now playing into the multinationals' hands. The online giants are making profits on a scale that was previously unimaginable. They don't seem to care that their products sometimes come from the furthest corners of the planet. And are manufactured where neither laws nor human rights apply. And it is precisely these cheap goods that are killing our small shops.
WE MUST NOT PUT UP WITH A CLEAR CUT
Good advice is not expensive. We can all do something to save our town centres from this latest clear cut. Instead of ordering more and more on the anonymous Internet, we should simply look around town. What's on offer there? More than we think. Plus: The small and fine shops still offer very personal advice.
I would like to introduce five old-established shops in Innsbruck's inner city, representing the small and micro shops in our city. Thank God they still play a decisive role in shaping the image of Innsbruck. Even if you haven't shopped in them yet, you will most certainly know the shop windows at least 'out of the corner of your eye'. For me, they are the five treasures of the city centre.
STASTNY BRUSHES IN THE GOLDEN DACHL
In one of the smallest and most beautiful business premises in Innsbruck, this truly long-established Innsbruck company has been operating for 135 years on 20 m2. The 3rd arcade to the west of the Golden Roof was originally the sales stand of a brush-making workshop in Badgasse.
In 1899, the production was taken over by the great-grandfather of today's boss Sabine Stastny, as was the small sales stand in front of the Goldenes Dachl building. 'Stastny brushes' have always been an Innsbruck brand product. Although the in-house production had to be abandoned, the goods now offered come exclusively from Europe. Clothes, shoe and carpet brushes complete the wide range of natural hair brushes. Here, in addition to the pig bristle on brushes, badger hair still reigns supreme on the fine shaving brushes. One looks for plastic in vain. A business policy, which I would like to call future-oriented. That's why, in addition to regular customers, it's mainly young people who shop here.
The horn articles, which Stastny offers almost exclusively, are also beautiful. And logo, these products also come from Austria, specifically from a Viennese manufactory.
My evaluation: The shop belongs to the small jewels of its kind. Besides combs and brushes, they also offer products for body care, manicure and horn articles.
My shopping tip for Easter: a real Greek sponge or an exquisite shaving brush? Also available here: the legendary men's fragrance 'Alt-Innsbruck'. A horn and Austrian-made shoehorn is also a good gift idea.
The address: Stastny Brushes, Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse 15 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Phone: +43 676 88365110 email@example.com
The website: Online buying is also possible at Stastny, the youngest scion of the brush dynasty makes sure of that www.stastny-buersten.at
PAINTING AND CRAFTING MANGOTT AM INNRAIN
From my first visit here, I was faced with a conundrum. How, I asked myself, can hundreds, even thousands of different products be managed? How can one keep track of everything here? It's exactly what I personally appreciate about 'Mangott': The diversity of the selection of watercolors and the paper that goes with them.
The shop was founded about 120 years ago as a painter's shop. In 1983 Hans Mangott took it over and successively changed the range of products towards a specialist shop for hobbyists and artists. To be honest: I still can't understand how an estimated 20,000 (!) different products can be managed. From hobby and artist supplies to paints, brushes, jewelry design and paper, and even model making, the range goes on. And that is not all. Because the offer differs depending on the season. Easter, Mother's Day, All Saints' Day and Christmas call for different products. That is why, according to senior boss Hans Mangold, they have rented space for a warehouse.
Four family members and two employees 'run' the business. Two things fascinate me: Searching is not necessary at Mangott. As an enquiring customer, you are guided quickly and confidently to the product you want to buy. Even if it's only a few centimetres big. Secondly, and just as importantly for me: the daughter of the house, Barbara Mangott, has decided to succeed her father as boss. This also secures the future of the business.
My assessment: I know of no other shop where I can find such a large selection of artists' paints and paper. If I were a crafter, I'm sure the same would be true.
My shopping tip for Easter: Finding gifts here is a breeze. There is also a large selection of Easter decorations.
Address: Innrain 26, 6020 Innsbruck
Phone: +43 512 56 38 17; firstname.lastname@example.org
MODEN SCHNEIDER IN THE MUSEUMSTRASS
For years I only knew this shop 'out of the corner of my eye'. In other words: I was aware that there was a shop in Museumstraße that had caught my eye with its blue company sign and the rare, old-fashioned and therefore already modern font. When I fully gave in to my penchant for loden clothes and linen shirts, I got to know Moden Schneider from the inside . Everyone who has ever lost a stag horn button knows why I consider myself lucky that Moden Schneider exists.
For me, it was a journey back in time when I first entered the specialist shop on the corner of Museumstraße and Erlerstraße. The eye is immediately drawn to a wall of shelves on which thousands of different types of buttons are 'mounted'. Well over 10,000 are in stock there, I later learned. Shelves, compartments and drawers dominate this shop, which exudes the wondrous charm, but also the accurate order of the 1960s.
Fashion is announced by company lettering, but a layman like me sees mainly the buttons. Sure, there's also sewing silk in all colours, stockings, blouses and pyjamas. The grandfather of today's boss Verena Forster founded the shop in the 1930s. At its peak, the shop had 16 employees. Back then there were still tailors who ordered and bought all the necessary ingredients here. That is over today. Mrs. Verena has been running it since 1989.
She says she can make a living from the business, more or less. She runs it out of passion, as she says. After her it will be over. It's a pity when you think about the know-how and individuality that will be lost.
Two of her three female employees have worked for the company for an incredible 100 years (!). A young master tailor covers the technical questions. And they come in droves. Because people order on the Internet and then ask about the details in specialist shops. In any case, she would not advise anyone to continue the business, says the boss. Explaining for an hour and then selling a sewing silk is not profitable.
I'll miss the business, that's for sure. In addition to the original stag horn buttons, there are also knee socks, braces and all sorts of other things that make an older gentleman like me happy.
My rating: A shop that is actually already a 'living museum'. If you need blouses, sweaters, nightwear, stockings, socks or tights, this is the place to go. And when it comes to buttons in all shades, colours, sizes and shapes, Moden Schneider is the world champion.
My shopping tip for Easter: palm ribbons. In addition, you can find here what you would otherwise only find - if at all - after a long search on the Internet. Sewing silk, suspenders, long socks, for example.
The addressMuseumsstraße 10, 6020 Innsbruck
Phone: +43 512 / 58 73 69
HAT MANUFACTURE AND HAT SPECIALTY SHOP HELD AT FRANZISKANERPLATZ
As a hat wearer, I sometimes press my nose flat against a shop window in the city: Hut Held is the name of the company that not only offers the finest men's hats for sale You have to imagine it: There has been a hat manufactory on Franziskanerplatz continuously since 1892. In these 129 years, the hat first became fashionable, only to fall out of fashion almost completely.
Lorenz Held is the great-great-grandson of the company founder and today patron of the company. The graduate economist took over the business from his father. He was more or less apprenticed to his father. But there is no apprenticeship for hatters, it is a free trade. And since the normal men's hats have more or less fallen out of fashion, he and his five employees have concentrated on the production of high-quality traditional hats. With the number of traditional costume associations in North and South Tyrol, he says, it's easy to make a living. After all, his customer list includes over 500 clubs. Respect.
What I love about this shop is the interior. Well-kept, with a touch of cultural, extremely endearing patina. And what always intrigues me is the 'Fashion Salon' sign hanging on the wall, probably from the Art Nouveau era.
My rating: If you need hats, umbrellas, canes or slippers, Held is definitely the place to go. Scarves and accessories round off the range.
My shopping tip for Easter: the large selection of children's headwear might tempt you to decorate your Easter nest this year with a beautiful and equally warming cap.
Address: Held, Burggraben 25 - 27, A-6020 Innsbruck
Phone: +43 (0) 512 / 58 63 27 email@example.com
FOR 244 YEARS WALDE SOAPS AND CANDLES
For an incredible 244 years, a company in Innsbruck has been producing candles and soaps. This success story over an already historic period bears the name Walde.
A candle shop in Innsbruck could not be more conveniently located than in Pfarrgasse near St. Jakob's Cathedral. The Walde brothers started their soap production in St. Nikolaus. For a long time, Walde has also been producing wax candles, whose major customers were and still are mainly parishes. The candles for religious occasions such as first communion and baptisms can be purchased just around the corner. The business name 'Tiroler Wachszieher und Lebzelter' (Tyrolean Wax Maker and Lebzelter) alone refers to the long tradition of the house.
If you wonder why Lebzelter comes into play when wax drawing and candles are mentioned: When the Waldes started producing candles in addition to their soap production, they even had their own beehives. The wax became candles, the honey became gingerbread.
I am a regular soap customer here. For me, the lavender soap is one of the very best things you can buy in this area in Innsbruck. The care series 'Tiroler Reine' celebrates this regionality with great scents. Scents like alpine rose, elderberry, glacier milk or forget-me-not prove that.
My rating: Walde has already achieved a great success with the product line 'Tiroler Reine' years ago. It makes an excellent gift.
My shopping tip for Easter: Wax items are in abundance at the retail store in Old Town. From wax Easter eggs to Easter candles.
Address :Pfarrgasse 5, 6020 Innsbruck; the main shop is located at the main building in St. Nikolaus at Innstraße 23.
Phone: +43 (0) 512 580075 firstname.lastname@example.org
The WebSite: www.walde.at
All pictures: © Werner Kräutler
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A volunteer at the "Schule der Alm" alpine farming school, cultural pilgrim, Tyrol aficionado and Innsbruck fan.