A new business joins the list of historic businesses that close their doors in Xàbia. On this occasion, not only the 46 years serving its loyal customers has been the end, but also the severe health crisis due to the coronavirus has caused the blind to be lowered definitively.
The new goodbye has been for the 'Hilde' store, located in the historic center of Xàbia and which only sold leather goods. Its beginnings date back to 1976, almost half a century ago.
During his 46 years at the helm of the business, there have been many good and bad times. Brigitte Kratzer and Hilde tell us many of their memories in this small place. 'Hilde-Fur Fashion' It was a local business, hence, its loyal customers have become special friends.
46 years of love and dedication
The store opened its doors on October 16, 1976 by Hilde and her husband. Both were excited about this new place that has shown the strength to survive. And it is that, a few months after its opening, a tragic traffic accident endangered the fate of the business. The founders were the victims of the car accident, but the desire to move forward in life and at work came to the fore.
Hilde was crippled for a long period of time and her husband lost his life, but the Kratzer family never gave up. The business continued after Hilde's recovery and with the help of her daughter Brigitte, who years later took over the reins of the store.
A new generation was part of the specialized leather goods store. A business that has lived almost 100% of tourism, says the owner, who adds that "our customers were 80% foreigners, from Germany, Switzerland, England and Belgium where it is more common to wear or wear leather goods." Likewise, Brigitte fondly recalls that her clients have been faithful year after year "and they have also passed from generation to generation, coming to buy children and grandchildren of the first clients who are already great friends."
Without a doubt, the good times, the good memories are those that prevail over the bad. The love for the business is what keeps it alive. And it is that, in 46 years many things have happened and there have been many changes, to which 'Hilde' has tried to adapt and get ahead.
The economic crises, the works in the historic center, the creation of large shopping centers or online shopping have, on several occasions, put small businesses on the tightrope and in many cases, they have fallen.
Brigitte has faced these circumstances: "I remember when the works in the historic center, I loaded the van and went to Balcón al Mar to deliver the products to my clients because they could not enter the town. Or how to adapt, moderately, to the new technologies to make you known in social networks". Actions that are left behind, but that are not forgotten.
Maintaining the illusion of a family business only depends on the desire, effort and dedication of subsequent generations. The generational change is important in a local business and in 'Hilde' up to three generations have come to work (the founder, the daughter and the granddaughter), but finally they have had to put up the closed sign for not being able to attend 100% to his clients.
"The coronavirus pandemic caused the closure of many of my manufacturers' companies, I could no longer offer the quality product that I had been selling for 46 years. My clients came looking for the best and if I could no longer offer it, I was not going to cheat with similar or worse quality items, so I made the decision to liquidate and say goodbye," says Brigitte.
A difficult decision and with which after more than a year getting the idea, the former manager still feels "strange" for not going to open every day, "although day by day I remember the good and fun moments of all these years".
Now, 'Hilde' says goodbye, leaving a void in one of the main urban centers and marking a before and after in the life of Xàbia. The fate of this location and of those that have closed remains up in the air. Although they are now empty, they are expected to be occupied shortly to revive the historic center of the town.