Galeria Kaufhof revamped: Transformation of Bonn inner city

Galeria Kaufhof revamped : Transformation of Bonn inner city

On Thursday Galeria Kaufhof will be celebrating the completion of the renovation work and a kind of reopening. The renovations took 8 months in total. And there’s a lot happening in the rest of Bonn’s inner city too.

Builders have been working at the Galeria Kaufhof on the Münsterplatz for over eight months. The whole building has been turned upside down, modernised and remodelled. Next Thursday everything will be finished, and together with honourable guests and its customers, Galeria Kaufhof will celebrate the completion of the renovations and a kind of reopening. There is also some other news to report from Friedrichstraße.

Harry Benzrath, managing director of Galeria Kaufhof, sounds relieved: The construction work that was carried out during normal operation has already demanded a lot of patience from our employees and customers, irrespective of the noise and dirt, which are difficult to avoid. "With the exception of the perfumery and food departments, we have taken everything into our own hands," says Benzrath.

The store has not only been modernised and rebuilt, but really smarted up. "We have moved ladies’ fashion from the first to the second floor, and men's fashion has moved to the third floor," explains Benzrath. On the first floor, you can now find ladies’ bags, shoes and lingerie and on the fourth floor, the new 1000m sports department was opened in May. "We decided to do this when it was clear that the sports arena next door would close," recalls Benzrath. The outlet chain "Saks Off 5th" has since opened a branch there.

During the in-house relocations, every floor of the Galeria has been completely renovated and modernised. Around 50 new brands and shops are now represented in the building on Münsterplatz. "Customers now have more space to stroll around, and we attach great importance to the whole shopping experience," explains Benzrath. With a slight delay, the English fashion label "Top Shop", which is particularly popular with younger customers, will open on the ground floor and first floor, probably in November.

Benzrath is expecting representatives of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Retail Association as well as Mayor Reinhard Limbach for the celebrations on Thursday at around 11 am. His employees have prepared a colourful programme for the guests of honour and all customers, including children. The last major renovation work at the Galeria Kaufhof took place only six years ago. "Bonn is an excellent location for the company, which is why it is happy to invest again," says Benzrath.

The "sister" company Karstadt is also investing heavily at the moment. As reported, Karstadt owner René Benko is now co-owner of Galeria Kaufhof. In Karstadt, Aldi and the drugstore dm are due to open shortly in the basement.

New shops and restaurants on Friedrichstraße and Sternstraße

The shops in Friedrichstraße are obviously attracting more and more customers with their wide range of offers. One shop owner laughed, saying she had what it takes to outdo Sternstrasse as a more upscale shopping street. Ulla Krogmann's shop, the "ulla k.", is new in Friedrichstrasse and sells upmarket fashion and accessories from India. The "Sündikat" is also new. The name stands for joie de vivre, enjoyment and creativity in the kitchen, and the shop sells kitchen utensils made mostly in Europe, wine and cream from France, delicious spices and many more items for body and soul. The Vietnamese restaurant "Cay Tre" in Friedrichstraße has enjoyed great popularity among fans of Vietnamese cuisine since its opening a few weeks ago.

In general, Friedrichstrasse is developing into a gourmet mile: Next up is the reopening of the bistro "C'est la vie", which has moved from Kölnstraße on the edge of the old town to Friedrichstraße. It takes over the former premises of the fashion and accessories store "Wunderbar", which moved three houses further down into the store of the former boutique "Herrlich".

On Thursday evening, the Swiss optician chain "VIU Eyewear" celebrated the opening of its branch on Sternstrasse with a DJ and a bar. "The founders' vision was to offer good quality at reasonable prices," said Natalie Merkel. The 28-year-old optician is deputy branch manager. The single vision glasses are available from 165 euros. Designed in Switzerland, the frames are handcrafted in Italy and Japan and bear names such as "The Writer", "The Noble", "The Beauty" or "The Buddy".

"The names indicate the character of the glasses", Merkel explained. The team includes Carolina Geist as well as other opticians. As a fashion saleswoman, she specialises in providing advice. "Glasses are a fashion accessory. We therefore see ourselves as a fashion store with an optician's background," she said.

Original text: Lisa Inhoffen, Sophia Rogalla, Translation: Caroline Payne)

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