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Retail, the trades and service providers

Höchst is a retail location. According to the City of Frankfurt’s center concept, last updated in 2011, downtown Höchst has been classified as a B center or district center. It is linked to the public transport network and can be accessed by train or bus.

The downtown Höchst retail location is at present undergoing a structural transformation typical of all districts in Frankfurt/Main: The number of owner-managed specialist stores is in decline. In downtown Höchst, these stores are not necessarily being replaced by retail chains; rather the premises become vacant or start to accommodate a wide range of retailers on the ground floor, which impacts negatively on the surrounding businesses.

Höchster Designparcours

Design Parcours December 2013, © Foto: NH ProjektStadt

The phenomenon of increasing vacancies is apparent in many cities and districts. The questions that each city needs to ask itself time and again is how such vacancies can be prevented and what options there are to do so. For several years now, one feasible approach is the interim use of vacant buildings and premises. This concept allows those from the cultural and creative professions, such as designers, photographers, artists etc. to use vacant premises for their activities for a limited period of time.

One step to combat vacancies and to assign a new use to a location was the “Höchster Designparcours”, which was held for the first time on the first weekend in December 2012. It was intended as an individual opportunity for creative minds to unfold their potential and their ideas in vacant store premises and thus be able to present themselves to a broad audience. The aim here is to convince the owners of the advantages offered by the concept of interim use and potentially realize the one or other creative business idea on the premises. Over the course of several days, the artists and designers not only use the store windows but indeed the entire vacant premises to display the fruits of their labors. The Designparcours takes place once every summer and winter.

The event was received very favorably in the media, collaborations with local protagonists were successful, and the feedback from the exhibitors was extraordinarily positive. In addition, several of the properties now have a permanent use. However, these individual successes cannot gloss over the structural problems. The district management is approached both by the property owners and interested parties who are in search of appropriate shop premises. Meaning that the district management assumes the role of intermediary here.

Seminar in display window design

Logo Fachwerk Triennale 2015, © Arbeitsgemeinschaft Deutsche Fachwerkstädte e.V.

Generating more turnover with clear messages – this is the motto of a workshop for retailers in Höchst financed through the support program. The central question: What effect does my retail store, my display window have on passers-by?

The retailers from Höchst who participated were able to enjoy an interesting and informative event. The guest speaker was specialist consultant Alexandra Chrobak, who advises retailers nationwide on successful goods display with her company DURCHDACHT – Mehr Umsatz durch klare Aussagen (generating more turnover with clear messages). Rounding out the workshop were individual coaching sessions for interested retailers, which included examining the actual display windows and products for commercial effectiveness. The seminar was received with great interest.