Today’s story is about Landolt-Arbenz, a stationery and exclusive pen shop dating back to 1882 with a huge amount of history behind it. A shop that not only holds importance in Zurich but is also unique in it’s selection throughout Switzerland.
From sophisticated leather goods and writing utensils, such as letter openers and ink pots, to tasteful silver goods or precious objects in the Montblanc collection, you will find everything at Landolt-Arbenz. Each year they publish their own house catalogue with a huge range of different fountain pens to choose from.
They are also specialists in the printing department. The perfect place to go to for anyone wishing to have a special personal letterhead, exclusive birth or wedding announcement or just a tasteful business card designed for them.
The shop always held a special place in my heart as I loved the window displays it used to have down Bahnhofstrasse. There was always a mix between old English interior design objects, stationery and writing utensils. Always put together in the most tasteful way. Then when I met my husband it was to my surprise that I found out Andreas Zimmerli-Landolt the current store owner together with his wife Martina, is actually an old military colleague of his – small world!
At a time when everything is becoming more and more electronic and handwriting appears to be a dying breed, what is it that makes this 5th generation family business continue to be successful? The story behind this very special family run business in Zurich is one that touches the heart.
Keep reading for the full story of “The Secrets Behind 5 Generations of Stationery and Exclusive Pen Specialists – Landolt-Arbenz”
The Secrets Behind 5 Generations of Stationery and Exclusive Pen Specialists – Landolt-Arbenz
This week I went into town to meet up with Andreas Zimmerli-Landolt who currently runs the business together with his wife Martina to find out more about the company and it’s history.
Of course there is a secret behind keeping any business going for 5 generations and more. Even more so when it is a specialised niche such as luxury writing utensils and stationery.
What really struck me as Andreas was telling the story is that each generation managed the business in a way to reflect their own true passion.
It all started in 1882 when Franz Landolt opened the store down Bahnhofstraße 66 together with his wife Elise Landolt-Arbenz. The Street was very different from what it is today, still largely residential and at the time electricity had not yet been installed. Franz and Elise also liked to dabble in real estate and bought the building at the time. I wonder if they knew just how wise an investment that would prove to be.
1919 – 1956
The second generation created their own in-house bookkeeping system – Andreas winks as he tells me this and says it’s a shame it wasn’t SAP – I guess that would have been considered space like at the time – smile!
1956 – 1977
Things were toughest for the third generation of the family. Together with the invention of the ballpoint pen in the 1960’s. Consumers were less inclined to spend on luxury items. The concept of a self service store was introduced in order to keep the business going.
1977 – 2004
Gradually a move towards luxury consumerism began to increase. This generation was able to bring in their passion for old English interior design into the business. I still have the fondest memories of the beautiful shop windows. Even remember buying an exclusive pillow (of all things) in the store. It is still happily placed on our sofa – smile.
2004 – Today
Andreas and Martina have taken the store back to it’s original roots. With their own true passion for maintaining the art of hand writing. They have turned the shop into a place where one can truly escape from the hectic world around us. A very personal service exists and the most exclusive of exclusive writing instruments is to be found here. Including magnificent Japanese fountain pens that should really be considered pieces of art more than anything else.
Since four years they have introduced an annual limited edition fountain pen in collaboration with Quill. Only 66 pieces are produced each year and they are very fairly priced especially given the quality and exclusivity of them.
I’ve been having great fun practising with this years flexible nib edition. It is really bringing back my teenage love for calligraphy which I had almost forgotten about.
You might also like to visit the store and find out about the exclusive Japanese fountain pens – each one is a true piece of art in itself.
This article has been written in collaboration with Landolt-Arbenz AG but all opinions are my own and I can truly only recommend letting yourself escape into the wonderful world of stationery and pens too…
Paradeplatz / Poststrasse 10
Tel: +41 43 443 77 00
Fax: +41 43 443 77 11
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