Nordwestzentrum shopping center
The unusual thing about this shopping center is that is not located out in the pampas someplace, but right in Frankfurt, so it is easily accessible even to the non-motorized majority of the population. From my house it is an easy ten-minute bicycle ride, twelve if I take the scenic route along the banks of the Nidda.
And for all you die-hard minority members there is even a huge parking garage in the basement, so you don't have to shake your addiction just yet.
They've got all the usual shops (over 120 according to their website), including two bookshops by the way.
The place is often very crowded so they have built an additional section which was finished at the end of 2004.
Heinemann at FRA Airport: water & fabulous goods
I had meant to write about the fabulous Duty Free & Travel Value shop of company Gebr. Heinemann (SE & Co KG) since some time. But just recently I have realised that, in addition to selling almost any kinds of goods to travellers, they also sell 0,5 litre water boxes for the incredible price of 1 Euro, at least in their shops at Frankfurt Airport! This is fabulous news because the food shops at many airports worldwide, especially my “home” airport Frankfurt, mostly take advantage of the new laws in context to liquids beyond security and with prices for half litre bottles of often more than 4 Euro. This, in my opinion, is close to greed.
So how did I find out about Heinemann’s fair prices for water bottles? I am ashamed not to have seen this earlier, because I like Heinemann’s shops very much and always buy my preferred cosmetic goods in their shops whenever I fly from Frankfurt. But I must have missed the water packs (Tetra Packs) so far. End of September our tour guide academy trainer has organised a guided tour “behind the scenes” at Frankfurt Airport and at the end of the tour I asked our guide if there are plans to put an end to the greed of the food shops in context to the water prices. She told me about Heinemann’s prices and I was gobsmacked! Sadly we have been out of the security area by that time, so I could not go back and take photos. I called Heinemann’s Corporate Communication and Lara Vitzthum, head of CC, kindly offered me to send photos of their shops and also provided me with more information I wasn’t aware of.
But first to the shops: Heinemann has several shops at Frankfurt airport, in both terminals and their different parts. They are called Heinemann Duty Free & Travel Value and are very easy to find. I like the airy and light atmosphere: the goods are nicely presented, no knickknack, which makes it very easy to find the preferred brands and products. And if one does not find a product quickly, staff is very helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. I mostly buy my favourite EdT and some “secret” cosmetics, but other than this, the product groups are manifold: wines, spirits, champagne, confectionary and delicacies, tobacco (with prices for Schengen and non-Schengen countries) and varying fashion and accessories, toys and souvenirs. The latter vary depending on the season or the region of the respective airports. Currently, during Munich’s Oktoberfest weeks, they have “Heinemann Oktoberfest” at Frankfurt and Hamburg airports where high quality fashion and accessories can be purchased. From what I could see, all the regular and special goods are of high quality.
What I found especially interesting is the newly established Home Delivery Service: anyone with – so far – German home address and flying within EU (flight number/booking provided) can order goods through their webshop. The goods are limited to three pieces per article of perfume and cosmetics and 24 bottles of spirits; sweets and fine foods are unlimited. Or one can order online and pick up the goods at the desired shop in the airport, on departure or arrival.
Another interesting offer is the Heinemann & Me system: it is based on a customer card system and offers many discounts at car rentals, upgrades at hotels and free hot drinks at several of the food & drink stores at the airport, e.g. “Italissimo” (mental note to self: apply for the card next time I am flying).
In addition to these very innovative concepts and ideas for travellers I also like their customer service attitude: some time ago, my favourite EdT had some problems with its nozzle. It just did not work anymore. I called Heinemann’s customer service hotline and only wanted to know if they could provide me with a return address of the supplier. But ... the nice lady told me that Heinemann will take care of it and exchange the EdT for free. Kudos to this! [At the end I didn’t need to exchange it because I called the supplier and their customer service lady told me how to repair it].
But when I did my research for this review, and also with the help of the information material, Lara Vitzthum sent me, I understood why Heinemann is so successful: they are a family run business, based in Hamburg with the ethical codes of old Hanseatic tradition. They started back in 1879 and have expanded since with retail and distribution of goods for the travel business. This includes ships, cruises and ferries, airports, airlines, border shops and many more. And staying in their core business, they expand with innovation in the modern technology world rather than into other businesses.
On their Facebook page they give updates about current discounts and events and many more.
And they sell water to thirsty travellers for a reasonable price.....Thank you especially for this!
© Ingrid D., October 2014, photos © Heinemann
- Wine Tasting
- Luxury Travel
- Budget Travel
Bären-Treff: Gummy Bears to Chew On
Where can you find about 100 varieties of gummy bears? Why Bären-Treff of course!
If you like gummy bears this store is definitely for you and if you think you don't like gummy bears this store will make a believer out of you.
Don't miss it!
What to buy: Gummy Bears, Gummy candy, licorice, Gelatin free Bears, Sugar Free Bears, Gift boxes and bags
What to pay: Average prices: +/- 1 EUR per 100g
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
Wacker`s Kaffee: Gourmet Coffee Since 1914
A little establishment with big flavours! Wacker`s is both a coffee bar and a retail shop.
What to buy: Freshly ground coffee, chocolate powder, cake.
Coffee beans, available in 500 grams bags, include beans from Mexico, Java, India, Nicaragua, Galapagos, Cuba, Brazil, Jamaica, Guatemala and Costa Rica among others.
What to pay: About average - 4 to 15 EUR
- Food and Dining
- Women's Travel
Kleinmarkthalle: The Little Market That Could!
Schreiber Sausage - Always a line up
What to buy: Food Market Fair: Flowers,meat,bread,vegetables,fruit,olive oils,wine...etc. You can also have lunch upstairs.
What to pay: Average
- Food and Dining
Lebkuchen-Schmidt: Ginger Bread Gifts & Other Goodies
Incredibly delicious gingerbread cookies and other goodies
Mon - Fri: 9:30 to 14:00 & 15:00 to 18:30
Sat: 10:00 to 16:00
What to buy: Cakes & Tarts, Pastries, Praline, Lebkuchen (Ginger bread), cookies and Coffee. They also have items that are Lactose-free and Glutenfree.
What to pay: 10 - 20 EUR
- Food and Dining
A Taste of Britain: When you just have to have a large jar of Marmite
Somehow in the course of my travels I have developed a taste for a quirky British product known as Marmite. This is a yeast extract, a black, salty substance which is a by-product of beer brewing. The British spread it on toast, but as a non-British person I take the liberty of spreading it on German bread or Swedish knäckebröd, often with cheese.
I know a German supermarket that sells tiny little jars of Marmite – ridiculously tiny – but the only place I know of in Frankfurt where you can get a large or medium jar of Marmite is a shop called “A Taste of Britain” on Oeder Weg, a block north of Eschenheimer Turm.
In addition to Marmite, they sell a wide range of British food products such as Twinings Tea, Tetley Tea, PG Tips Tea, Typhoo Tea, Yorkshire Tea, Nairn’s Oat Cakes, Carr’s Table Water, Jacob’s Cream Crackers, Cadbury Chocolate, Walkers Crisps, Colman’s Mustard, Clotted Cream & Scones, Crumpets, Vintage Cheddar, Robinson’s Squash, Self-Raising Flour, Soft Brown Sugar and Branston Pickle, among many others.
To non-British people, this might not sound like a very promising business plan, but the shop has been thriving since 2004, so there is evidently a market for this sort of thing.
A Taste of Britain is open (as of April 2013) from Tuesday- Friday 11:00 - 18:00, Saturday 10:00 - 18:00. When I spoke to the owner, he asked me to mention that they also deliver (within Frankfurt, in the evenings after the shop closes) and they have an online ordering service.
The word Marmite, by the way, comes from the French, where it means a big covered cooking pot. But I have never noticed any French people eating Marmite, have you?
The Australians have something similar (or identical?) but they call it Vegemite and claim it is superior to Marmite. Fortunately for them, there is also an Australian shop in Frankfurt, where genuine Vegemite is sold.
British Book Shop: Books in English
This is a small centrally-located bookshop with a good selection of books in English.
Also they are very nice about letting English-speaking people put notices up in their window -- for a small fee, if it's something commercial, or for free if they consider it to be in the public interest. So their window is a good place to start looking if you want to trade English for German lessons, or if you want an English-speaking baby sitter or an English conversation club.
At certain times of year you can even see a notice there about Germany's only English-language opera appreciation course, "Frankfurt OperaTalk."
What to buy: For example you could buy a copy of the novel Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, to read on the train on your way to Dresden.
What to pay: Since the books are imported, they cost somewhat more than you would pay in the UK or the United States.
Musikalien Petroll: Sheet music and music books
This is one of the best places in Frankfurt to get sheet music and music books. They also have “coaching CDs” which just contain the accompaniment to opera arias, so aspiring singers can practice singing the arias themselves.
Open till eight! No, till ten!
Open till eight! -- "So what else is new?" you might ask.
Let me explain that until quite recently the opening hours of stores in Germany were strictly regulated. They all had to close promptly at 18:30 (6:30 p.m. to you) on weekdays and at 13:00 on Saturdays.
For people like me -- working full time, and not an early riser -- that meant it was not easy to find a time to go shopping. All of us in this situation tended to go shopping around 11:00 on Saturday mornings, which meant that the stores were all packed at that time. You couldn't even get a shopping cart, and there were long lines at all the check-out lanes. Very stressful, aside from the fact that I sometimes had other things I wanted to do on Saturday mornings.
So now it is a great relief that a normal store like this one is open until 20:00 Monday through Saturday.
This particular store is the closest one to my house, right in front of the S-Bahn station. It is only a medium-size supermarket, which means for example that they stock creamy peanut butter but not crunchy. Fortunately there are several larger stores within easy cycling distance that have both kinds, so I don't have to do without.
Update: The store in the picture is now open till 10 p.m. six days a week. Who ever would have thought this could happen in Germany, of all places? (It's no longer a HL store, by the way. Name changed to Minimal and now to Rewe.)
And they now stock crunchy peanut butter as well as creamy. Still no Marmite, however.
Zweirad Ganzert: Excellent bicycle sales and service
Frankfurt has several excellent bicycle shops, but Ganzert's is the one I go to most often.
For one thing, it's close to my office. If something is wrong with my bike I can just leave it off on the way to work and pick it up the same day on the way home.
I even used to do this with flat tires, but now I don't have flat tires any more since they put MARATHON tires on both wheels. These are really a great invention and well worth the extra cost.
Recently they had to send the back wheel of my new bike back to the factory to get it fixed under the guarantee, and they lent me another bike for about three weeks. The whole thing didn't cost me a cent, and my bike has been working fine ever since.
The only time they didn't have a substitute bike for me was on 911, but that's a whole nother story.
At the workshop entrance at the back of the store they have a sign reading (rough translation): "We do not repair bicycles bought in supermarkets, building materials stores or coffee roasting shops."
And that's a good policy, because these cheepo bikes are really low quality and no self-respecting mechanic would be willing to take responsibility for them being in good repair.
Last year I was in another German city, Zwickau, and saw a bicycle shop with a nice slogan in English: "Life is too short to ride a sh!tty bike!"
What to buy: A bicycle, if you haven't got one already. And a good lock, of course, and a helmet.
What to pay: You can get a decent bicycle for EUR 500 or upwards -- with no upper limit that I know of!
I tend to stay towards the lower end because I cycle the city daily year-round, and an expensive bike would get stolen sooner or later.
Euro Information centre & bookshop: Books about money in several languages
Well, not only about money, but that's of course the emphasis because money is what the European Central Bank is all about, and this is their bookshop on the ground floor of the Eurotower.
They also have a small but interesting selection of other books in several languages.
What to buy: Aside from books, you can also buy a European Central Bank T-shirt or sweatshirt if by any chance you don't have one already.
Another item that might be useful if you are looking for a gift for a Rich Relative Who Has Everything is a brick made of Deutsche-Mark-banknotes that were once worth DM 100,000.00 before they were shredded and pressed together very firmly in the shape of a brick. This costs EUR 9.00 and looks somewhat like a large piece of Weetabix. It might also be an appropriate gift for a disgruntled German who doesn't like the Euro and wishes Germany hadn't given up its national currency.
Lebkuchen Schmidt: Ginger Bread all year around
A very nice shop for the unique ginger breads and other candy and sweets, not only for Christmas though, but for all year around.
Filled Chocolate Eastereggs are the popular thingy right now. But still available, and a very extraordinary and great gift: the ginger breads in special boxes.
Also store locations in Stuttgart, Munich and Nuremberg (which is the Main production site).
What to buy: "Dominosteine" or "Marzipankartoffeln"
What to pay: pay more than average for exclusivity.
- Food and Dining
- Arts and Culture
- Religious Travel
DOM: Fun Gifts etc.
Always changing merchandise to bring fun and/or something new to your home, great gifts items from around the world, jewelery, some cds, china, schnick schnack, party stuff always trendy and nicely designed.
Some of it you do not really need, but still fun watching and considering changing home- interiors very other month..
What to buy: Not only in Frankfurt but at several other locations in the world...
What to pay: average
- Family Travel
- Arts and Culture
My Zeil: One of the big trade centers
This is a shopping complex located on Zeil in a nice office complex with a hotel also. It’s glass with the shape of a vortex. The interior is even more spectacular with irregularly shaped ramps and glass columns.