Interview by Melanie Gropler

“Our customers were bored of the stupid change of sale and full-price seasons. So we sat down and thought of a new store concept”, explained Heiko Fuhrer‚ CEO of Fresh Juice. The aim was to find a brand new concept to attract customers. The result was: Fresh Juice - the first German multi-price-level store concept. A store and three different price levels should create a new shopping experience. And the concept works out: After a test run with a pop-up-shop the first flagship store opened in 2015. Today the company operates 5 stores throughout Germany. Here, Heiko Fuhrer explains the Multi-Price-level concept.

Fresh Juice Freiburg
Fresh Juice Freiburg

Why did you open your shop? Tell us the story and your motivation!
We are in the business with different retail concepts for over 15 years now and we realized over time that our customers are bored of the stupid change of sale and full-price seasons. So we sat down and pondered over it. After several studies and trials we finally ended up with the multi-price-level concept you see today. The special feature of the concept is the offer of different price ranges that exist permanently. From reduced brand items, over samples up to limited specials we have a wide selection of brands from the skate and streetwear scene. We tested this concept over 3 months in a pop-up store before we finally opened our first "real" flagship store in Stuttgart beginning of 2015.

What is important for you in terms of shop fitting and store design?
The customer should feel good in our stores – this is the most important thing that stands above all. Of course, we want to sell our stuff but in first line we want to be a store that people want to stop by, sit down, have a break and a coffee and feel good. For this we have several chairs and benches.

We all come from the board sport scene and as we’ve timbered the ramps ourselves earlier already, we built our stores in self-direction. So it’s part of our concept that not everything looks perfect. For the furniture we used, just to give an example, upcycled Euro pallets.

Fresh Juice Freiburg
Fresh Juice Freiburg

According our concept, each store is divided into three areas: the Premium range shows the latest products and special releases without any discount. In the Sample area our customers find a selection of samples and single pieces for great prices and in the Sale section we present reduced seasonal goods.

What are the anchor Brands? Which brands have you recently added to the assortment?
Of course, we have some board sports brands such as Volcom and still have a strong link to the scene. But we are not getting any younger and evolve ourselves. This is also reflected in our assortment. Today, we have a strong sneaker range that can compete with established Sneaker Stores. Also in our streetwear segment we show brands such as Fair play. Recently we have added Ucon Acrobatics to the assortment.

Fresh Juice Freiburg
Fresh Juice Freiburg

What’s your personal favorite brand?
That's really hard to say! There are brands that have accompanied us already for a long time (e.g. Volcom) and brands that surprise us again and again with new developments (such as Nike) and finally brands that have thrilled us more recently (like Ucon Acrobatics).

What do you think of new delivery cycles and fashion cycles - as it has now been announced by Burberry and other brands?
For a while now, our customers already expect us to show product samples or stock pieces in addition to the classic pre-order collection. Thus, we have already detached ourselves from the regular delivery cycles.

Fresh Juice Freiburg
Fresh Juice Freiburg

In the first step this won’t affect us as our brands are keeping their common delivery cycles. But sooner or later our brands as well will follow this development. In the digital world you have to adapt and provide quickly. Basically we would be happy to show fresh looks on our sales floor at the Premium section.

What are five products you couldn’t live without right now?
The Komono WINSTON BROGUE - an insanely beautiful and simple watch.

The Stance x Star Wars line - true fans know why!

The Levi's 511 Slim Skate - perfect pants in all situations.

The Miami Pack of Asics

And the Nike SB Coaches jacket because one currently gets everything right with this style.

Fresh Juice Stuttgart, by Jonas Vietense
Fresh Juice Stuttgart, by Jonas Vietense

Which fairs do you visit? Or do you only order at showrooms? Where do you inform yourself about trends?
We visit fairs to track down new trends and make our orders at our brands’ showrooms.

How do you stay in touch with your other customers?
We regularly send out newsletters and are very active on Facebook and Instagram. Thanks to our constantly filled beer-fridge we also stay in close touch with our customers after work.

Did your store’s sales increase or decrease over the last year? To what do you attribute your gain or loss in sales?
Yes, we increase our numbers as we started with only one store in 2014 and have now stores in Stuttgart,
Metzingen, Berlin and Freiburg.

Fresh Juice Stuttgart, by Jonas Vietense
Fresh Juice Stuttgart, by Jonas Vietense

You also operate an online shop. What percentage of your sales come from online business compared to your brick-and-mortar sales?
We are currently aiming for a total ratio of 50:50. Currently it is easier to identify your cost drivers at brick-and-mortar business compared to the online business, additional the price is still important for the customers. All in all we do not want to complain about our online sales.

Is there a kind of model store for you? Some shop (worldwide), that inspires you?
Our store concept is unique and our approach isn’t taken by any other store. We find inspiration through many German sneaker stores such as 43/ and have an eye on the Voo Store in Berlin. But in general, we do our own thing!

What is the biggest challenge for retailing right now?
For brick-and-mortar business: It’s challenging to provide a shopping experience for your customers as you need to pull them from their screens into the store for shopping.
For e-commerce: It’s to compete with the big players and to be noticed at all.

Fresh Juice Stuttgart, by Jonas Vietense
Fresh Juice Stuttgart, by Jonas Vietense

Which is the most important ingredient for successful retailing?

Fresh Juice
Schmale Strasse 9
70173 Stuttgart