1979: The Village People led the charts with “YMCA”, Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of Great Britain – and in Würzburg two brothers founded a company for the trade “with electro-acoustic devices as well as lighting systems and electronic components”. Bernd and Klaus Steinigke had no idea that their company would become a global wholesaler for event technology 40 years later.
Today, the two brothers can look back on a success story that sounds almost like a fairytale. Just a few years after the two-man business was founded, it became too big for the garage at home: in 1985 they moved into their first office and began exporting to other European countries in the same year.
In the 90s, the company was given the name “Steinigke Showtechnic GmbH”, which is still valid today. The assortment grew so strongly – also thanks to the introduction of own brands – that a new company building was necessary. In Waldbüttelbrunn near Würzburg, an office building with a warehouse and showroom was built. The area was extended several times and ultimately covered more than 30,000 m². The number of employees also grew steadily; today it amounts to more than 170 persons.
Together with managing director Matthias Schwab, company founder Bernd Steinigke still manages the company today. The industry, he says, is a matter close to his heart. He attributes his success above all to the good partnership with customers and suppliers: “That has always been our company motto: We see ourselves as partners of the specialized trade. We can only be successful if our customers are successful with our products. Our success is based on offering good products at good prices and supporting our dealers in the best way possible”.
The high number of regular customers, who have been loyal to the company for several decades, shows that this guiding principle is accepted. “At trade fairs and dealer days,” says Steinigke, “in addition to new customers, we still meet the same people who have known us for twenty or more years. That’s almost a family feeling – and a good one!
Looking back, Bernd Steinigke sees the courage to make groundbreaking decisions as milestones in the company’s history. The early import of goods from Italy and Spain had already set the course for successful international trade in the 1980s. The move to Waldbüttelbrunn and the construction of the modern high-bay warehouse with 24,000 pallet spaces also made it possible to expand the product range to its current dimensions.
Looking back, Matthias Schwab, Managing Director of Steinigke Showtechnic GmbH, regards the flexibility and adaptability of the company as decisive: “A lot has happened since 1979 – both in terms of technology as well as purchasing behaviour and market development. At the product level, the introduction of LEDs can be seen as a revolution. And in terms of buying behaviour, the Internet is no less important. Today, everything happens much faster than it did twenty or thirty years ago: The development of LED products is progressing rapidly and occupies areas that were reserved for conventional high-performance headlamps only a short time ago. And the purchase is also made via the Internet much faster than with an order form by fax! These are all changes that we have encountered openly and flexibly. This is the only way we have been able to maintain our success in the market to this day.”
The fact that the company recognized the signs of the times and adapted to new requirements was also shown by its early decision to set up an in-house department for quality control. As one of the first manufacturers in the industry, Steinigke attached importance to checking the safety and conformity of all articles in Germany with its own employees. By now, 15 people take care of the quality assurance of the products. No wonder, as the number of articles has grown steadily since then:
Today the product range of Steinigke Showtechnic GmbH comprises more than 9000 articles from the fields of lighting, sound and stage technology, trussing, decoration, cases, instruments and accessories. The width of this assortment is unique in the industry and makes the company the perfect partner for a large number of customers from the most diverse sectors.
For the future, the two managing directors wish one thing above all for their company: “We want to continue to be reliable partners for our customers”, says Matthias Schwab. “Flexible, innovative and open in order to recognize new trends and market changes; at the same time reliable and service-oriented. Keeping our finger on the pulse of the times, but never forgetting our roots. For us, the great challenges of the future will be the global economic circumstances and regulatory developments. In any case, it remains exciting!”