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hirty years ago Torsten Toeller opened
* Did your success come down to business
the first "Freßnapf" store in Germany.
skills alone or did your love for animals also
play a role?
This job would not be possible at all if I didn't
Today there are over 1,600 stores
across Europe. Maxi Zoo Friends spoke with
Maxi Zoo's founder about his love for animals,
love animals. I am aware that Maxi Zoo fills a
his success and the strengths of the business.
very emotional niche in the market. People do
not make any compromises when it comes to
* Torsten, back then there was nothing
the well-being of their pets. In that respect, our
like a supermarket for pet supplies in
customers are no different from me and our
Germany. What made you so sure that it
many Maxi Zoo employees. We want to be the
would be well received?
best partner for all pet owners and their animals
Over 30 years ago I was travelling through
and fulfil all the needs of our customers - our
the US to check out retail trends for my boss
mission says it all: "We do all we can to make
at the time. Alongside many new specialty
the relationship between people and pets easier,
store concepts, I also saw huge super stores
better and happier." Of course we also have
dedicated to pets. I was instantly captivated!
Back in Germany you pretty much only
to make money while doing it. Otherwise we
couldn't keep developing Maxi Zoo, couldn't
found pet food in regular supermarkets and
Torsten Toeller in
accessories in little pet stores. I had no doubt:
it had to work! A large range of products,
front of a picture by
an artist friend.
cheap prices and knowledgeable service
located in highly frequented areas. My boss
didn't share my enthusiasm, so I quit at the
reckless age of 24 and opened the first
"Freßnapf" store using a little bit of starting
capital from my parents. This little adventure
almost ruined me. But hey, I'm a little bulldog.
(laughs) So I sold my beloved BMW, doubled
the product range, lowered the prices and
adopted a highly aggressive marketing strategy
- suddenly more and more customers came and
realised that the specialty store concept has a
lot more on offer than the supermarket next
door. Just like back then, a great product range,
cheap prices and good face-to-face advice still
define the company to this day.