It all began in 1913 in the working-class district of Essen-Borbeck in the heart of the Ruhr area. Heinrich Deichmann, born in 1888, opened a shoemaker’s store, which he ran together with his wife Julie. Two generations on and almost a hundred years later, the company has become the market leader in Europe. DEICHMANN is now represented in 31 countries with over 4,600 stores and employs over 48,000 people. DEICHMANN is still a family-owned company that places great value on organic growth. IPOs and bank loans are not an issue for the owners.
The founding years
The period up to 1945 was initially characterized and restricted by the politically and economically uncertain times of the Weimar Republic and the subsequent tyranny of the National Socialists. Company founder Heinrich Deichmann rejected the ruling regime. Among other things, he criticized the persecution of his Jewish fellow citizens, which he experienced at close quarters. He died in 1940 at the age of 52. At this time, Heinz-Horst Deichmann, born in 1926, was already occasionally helping out in the store. His mother Julie ran the store through the war years. After the war, Heinz-Horst Deichmann studied medicine and theology. On the side, he continued to run the small family business together with his mother.
Growth after the war
By 1956, when Heinz-Horst Deichmann, now a doctor of medicine, gave up his job as a doctor and concentrated fully on running the company, he had already opened DEICHMANN branches in neighboring towns such as Düsseldorf and Oberhausen. DEICHMANN felt responsible for providing the population with a basic supply of good, reasonably priced shoes. A corporate goal that is still valid today. In 1974, the hundredth store opened in Würzburg. International expansion began at almost the same time: DEICHMANN acquired the traditional shoe chain Dosenbach in Switzerland. Soon afterwards, Dr. Heinz-Horst Deichmann became active in a completely different field. In India, he launched the Christian aid project wortundtat which initially focused on helping leprosy sufferers.
The third generation takes over
Heinrich Deichmann, the grandson of the company founder born in 1962, joined the company in 1989. In 1999, he took over the position of Chairman of the Management Board. Today he is Chairman of the Board of Directors of DEICHMANN SE. Under his leadership, the international expansion of the company was driven forward. On the purchasing side, the company procures shoes in 40 countries. On the sales side, there are around 4,600 stores in 31 countries. In addition to business development, the company’s social commitment to people in need in Germany, Europe, India and Tanzania has remained unchanged.