‘The first shop opened in Geneva in 1891 ‒ a long time ago. The company began as a bazaar selling products for the home. In the early 70s we bought Grieder in Zürich and became a national brand.
‘The metamorphosis from a series of appliance shops a century ago to the current stores is down to my grandfather, Émile Brunschwig, and his sons Michel and Jean-Jacques. Today Bongénie not only carries ready-to-wear fashion but also accessories, perfumes and home furnishings. Bongénie Grieder is now considered the leading chain of top-of-the-range stores in Switzerland.
‘The Geneva department store has an interesting history. After a fire ravaged the shop in 1964, a sale of damaged items was organised at the Geneva Exhibition Centre and a temporary store was built in containers in the centre of the city. After less than a year’s work the six-floor building was reopened.
‘Originally, I worked in finance, but was not happy. Marketing and fashion were more interesting to me and so I joined the family business. There is a certain pride in belonging to a family business, in having managed to maintain it right up today and still have many projects to develop. The whole group, which includes other companies, now employs around 600 people.
‘We pride ourselves on always being at the forefront of fashion and presenting the best brands of the moment for women, men and children. Services, architecture and of course the fashion brands make Bongénie Grieder special. Today, our stores are places designed for visitors to stroll, meet others, try and buy products; these are spaces that are defined by luminosity, a well-selected range of goods, comfort and customer service. Contemporary and playful architecture, restaurants and bars, hair and beauty salons are included in our diverse selection, where the most contemporary brands sit alongside more classical labels. We want to cater to different lifestyles, to welcome a cosmopolitan public of all generations to our atmospheric shops.
‘We have a mix of local customers and foreign visitors, depending on the time of year. Bongénie Grieder dresses a demanding customer, who loves beautiful materials, who has taste and who follows fashion or has some knowledge of it. Every day is therefore a new challenge in our business, because every day we must respond to the desires of our customers and anticipate them for tomorrow.
Bongénie, 34 rue du Marché, 1204 Geneva, +41 (0)22 818 1111