One wall falls and more are built

Wanzl stories (part 5)

Over the course of decades, Rudolf Wanzl proved definitively that he was a foresighted entrepreneur. His motto was: “We invest everything we earn into the ground, rock and earth.” Following this principle, the first ground-breaking ceremony for Plant IV took place in July 1989, three months before the fall of the Berlin Wall, and represented a major project with tremendous scope. Fortune favoured Rudolf Wanzl’s boldness. In October 1990, at the same time as Germany was reunified, the plant was opened with a new shipping department and expanded production areas. However, there was not much time to celebrate, as the new federal states brought significant demand for shopping trolleys and shop elements. Supermarkets – initially temporary ones – shot up like mushrooms: tent structures were erected in lush meadows to serve as shops, cash desks were placed on pallets, and all the new stores were equipped with large quantities of shopping trolleys.

Finally, the people of East Germany were given everything that had long since been standard in the West. At Wanzl, it was all hands on deck to ensure prompt delivery. Sundays became workdays, and administrative employees became industrious production assistants. Some field sales employees had to spend a Sunday working at the conveyor belt to “atone” for orders they successfully signed. However, no-one worked harder than the family of entrepreneurs itself – everyone mucked in! Happily, the new factory halls provided sufficient space and enough resources to enable the abundance of orders to be fulfilled on time and to the usual Wanzl quality standards. The far-sightedness of the company founder, the luck of good timing, and the employees’ solidarity over the course of many months, guaranteed that Wanzl’s market share grew consistently in the years following reunification. Sales and employee numbers increased rapidly, and Wanzl became established as one of the largest employers in the region.