‘A lot of the customers that came during the lockdown are coming back’

In the shop from morning to evening, even on Sundays – that was the norm for Katarzyna Boratyn even before Covid-19. She has worked in retail for over 40 years. For the last 8 years, she has run her Odido shop in Kąty Wrocławskie, a town near Wroclaw that is home to 7,000 residents. Then came the lockdown – and instead of the some 400 customers who usually visited the shop each day, there were 1,000.


Trust in the small corner shop in the Kąty Wrocławskie high street is high. There are many reasons for this. One of them is the way ‘Kasia’ operates her business. The front garden with its neatly pruned shrubbery offers a hint, and the shop interior confirms the impression: Kasia rightly received the award from MAKRO for the most well-kept Odido shop. Everything is perfectly ordered in her 84-square-metre business – and it has to be, if you are to navigate the amazingly broad selection on the sales floor. Whether you are looking for bonbons, batteries or baking powder, vegetables or sausage products, cat food or canned fruit, drugstore or household items – the small shop has it all. And it is bustling with customers, ranging from schoolchildren to senior citizens. Kasia knows her regular customers by name. She scurries busily through the aisles, picking out products and sorting. She and her partner live in the house right behind the shop. Finishing time? Kasia dismisses the notion with a wave of her bright red, manicured nails and a chuckle. ‘My work is my hobby,’ she says. This year of the coronavirus has, however, presented her with special challenges.

Kasia, what do you think sets your shop apart from others?
You have to be interested in your customers and get to know them and their needs. I place some orders specially on customer request. Recently, a customer wanted a certain wine that he’d tried somewhere – one I don’t normally have in my assortment. So I ordered the wine for him, and now he keeps coming back to buy it here. Another customer, a pregnant woman, was looking for cold-pressed carrot juice. When you order from me today, the product is here tomorrow.

How have you experienced the time of the pandemic?
During the strictest lockdown phase, you were only allowed to go shopping and then straight back home. That was a really exhausting time – I worked practically 24/7. It was pretty crazy here. People were afraid of going to the big stores. I usually get about 400 customers a day, but during the lockdown it was up to 1,000. Only 5 people were permitted to be in the store at once, so they were queuing up all the way around the house.

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Small grocery shops, kiosks, street food sellers – they make life easier for end consumers and in some places they mould entire neighbourhoods. An overview of what makes up the Trader market worldwide, what regional differences there are and why independent Traders are particularly important to METRO.

Traders as an Economic Factor: More Than a Target Group

The Rioba coffee station next to the entrance is a solution from MAKRO and sets Odido shops like Katarzyna Boratyn’s apart from other stores. The coffee is less expensive and tastes good, customers say – which is why they stop off here on their way to work in the morning and get a breakfast sandwich and a coffee to go.
What did that mean for you and your team?
We’re open Monday to Saturday from 7 in the morning to 7 in the evening, Sundays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. So my life partner and an employee and I were all in the shop from morning to evening. Then, at night, we drove to MAKRO to stock up again. Fortunately, the MAKRO store in Wroclaw is open 24 hours, and products had been set aside specially for us Odido shop owners, to ensure our supply. During that time, I only got maybe 2 or 3 hours of sleep per night.

How did MAKRO support you in that phase?
I speak with my MAKRO partner manager every other day anyway. In the course of Covid-19, our exchange intensified. During the lockdown, there was also a satisfaction survey every 2 weeks. And MAKRO set up a website with my contact details that my customers could use to pre-order their purchases or have the goods delivered to them. Then, every 2 days I went to all of my older customers with a box full of everything they needed. We still offer the pre-ordering and packing service, but now for pick-up by the customer – and it’s still being used.

Do you believe that people have come to appreciate retailers like you even more during this phase?
Yes, a lot of the customers that came for the first time during the lockdown for bigger purchases are still coming back. They’re still doing their main weekly shopping here. I think a lot of them realise that they really can get everything at my shop. At a discounter, you can’t just go in and place a special order.

What advantages are there in operating your shop under the Odido brand?
The professional appearance, promotional flyers and bargain prices, for example. The website and advertising materials help me to gain more customers. And I get consultation through my MAKRO partner manager on a whole range of topics. I also take part regularly in MAKRO initiatives. In ‘Handel Jest Kobietą’ [translates to ‘Retail is a woman’ – a networking initiative for entrepreneurial women, editor’s note], for instance, my customers could vote for me, and the proceeds went to a facility for people with disabilities. I like being able to give something back to my customers and the community through initiatives like that.

You’re also involved in the community overall – helping at events for people with disabilities, for example.

Right, that’s important to me. I bake waffles for picnics or donate plates and cutlery. But honestly, I take doing these things for granted. As with the business – it’s just part of my life.

How do you see the future of your shop?

We’re doing relatively well, fortunately – which I’m very thankful for. It’s important to me not just to sell things to my customers, but also to provide service. If someone buys a cup of yogurt, I ask if they need a spoon with it. I’ll hold the door open for an older woman or carry her shopping bag for her. Little things like that make the difference.

Products / Consulting

Products that make our customers successful – with 100% quality and a local focus. Plus tailor-made consulting on individual challenges. The Odido franchise format gives owners of small stores a professional presence and helps with marketing and shop design as well as digital solutions.

More about the 6 strategic subject areas in the Annual Report 2019/20.

Further articles