Sustainable shopping in Lübeck



The “Goldener Hirsch”

Sometimes you don’t know that life is just handing you a gift. In this case, the recipient was Sybille Frey, who in the fall of 2020 wandered through Lübeck’s Old Town looking for a store and discovered the prahmacy “Hirsch-Apotheke” at Hüxstraße 76, which had been vacant since 2018, and had no idea that this house would turn into the project of a lifetime.

PopUp sustainable & fair

A wide range of handmade marvels is offered by the Goldener Hirsch store, including hand-turned pens and utensils made from local and exotic woods, leather clothing to wear and feel good in, hand-bound books, hand-thrown jewelry made from eco-friendly beads, hand-strained vegetable oil soaps and hand-spun honey. Each product is made with extraordinary attention to detail from sustainable and / or fair trade or Fairtrade certified materials and materials in northern Germany. This is the heartfelt commitment of the team of currently fourteen like-minded, dedicated producers who share the same values and visions and take on ecological and social responsibility.

In the beginning, there were chance encounters and conversations at artisan markets. People exchanged ideas, gave each other tips and thus quite unintentionally created a network that supports the “Goldener Hirsch” project today and that would not exist at all without the current pandemic. Because when virtually all arts and crafts markets were canceled in 2020, the Christmas business that is so important for manufactories also collapsed, and with it one of the crucial sales channels. So the network partners developed the idea of opening a pop-up store in Lübeck’s Old Town for the weeks before Christmas.

The stroke of luck

Jewelry designer Sybille Frey had already set her sights on the house at Hüxstraße 76 and, through a tip, tracked down the property’s owners, who were immediately receptive to the idea of a pop-up store and gave nine manufactories a new home in their former pharmacy. In just four weeks, Sybille Frey’s team succeeded in breathing new life into the historic premises. “A stroke of luck”, as Sybille Frey calls it, because although the wonderful furniture could be used immediately, the organizational effort was immense given the short time available. The group started on November 2nd under the conditions of the partial lockdown. A challenge, because despite the store’s ideal location in the popular Hüxstraße, the team with its diverse range of products was completely unknown. After only six weeks came the strict lockdown, the store had to close and here the story could have already ended. But things turned out differently.

There is nothing good unless you do it

Within this short time, the store’s creators nevertheless received so much positive and consistently encouraging feedback from customers that the group started to realize: “We’re doing something right here.” It seemed as if this very store had been waiting for the manufactory owners. Their high-quality products were ideally displayed in the historic furniture, shelves and drawers with the charming aura of the former pharmacy. And so the plan matured: “We’re renting permanently.” The unprecedented support of the owners, who even waived the rental income in the months of lockdown and promoted the ideas and activities of the team, proved to be a stroke of luck in this project. And that the store would be named “Goldener Hirsch” was clear from the outset, as the deer on the façade pointed to this special and somehow magical place from afar, a place that still offers endless room for further development – for example, in the former pharmacy laboratory, in the garden behind the building and in other rooms on the second floor.

Suddenly businesswoman

What Sybille Frey tackles, she pursues with 150 percent passion, as she says of herself. She acts as a tenant and puts all her energy into the conceptual work, which she enjoys incredibly. However, despite all the changes, she definitely wants to preserve the history of the house and keep it alive with more suitable manufactures. It almost seems as if she is surprised by herself, by her courage to start something completely new and to take responsibility for the success of a store for many independent actors. What drives her in this life’s project is the firm conviction that she and her partners can use the “Goldener Hirschen” to set impulses for a change in values and contribute to a change in consumer behaviour.The former pharmacy can be be a bridge from the past to the future. From a time when raw materials and resources were used prudently and consciously. Towards a time when sustainable living will once again have relevance. And it should be a place of appreciative interaction with each other and with the clientele.

The team is bubbling over with ideas on how to pass on their own skills and knowledge in many ways in the future, for example by informing producers about the materials and fabrics used and letting interested people look behind the scenes. Also planned are an insect- and bee-friendly garden, sewing and spinning classes, and workshops in traditional bookbinding. Currently, these are merely plans. But what you can do today: buy clothes, surprises, useful, tasty, practical and decorative items and talk to producers who work sustainably.

Lübeck is a Fairtrade City
Here you can learn more about Lübeck’s initiatives and sustainable enjoyment.

Hirsch Apotheke Bild 5

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written by:

Barbara Schwartz