When Wecke & Voigts celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2017, loyal customers shared loving memories of a bygone era. Heartfelt stories sprouted from fond memories of playing in the shed behind the store amongst the karakul wool as children, to the memory of the enticing smell of coffee drifting in the old Store Strasse, and the gentleman nature of Dieter Voigts. Wecke & Voigts is the epitome of a constant in an ever-changing world. The history of Wecke & Voigts is the story of its people, which is why it has turned into a household name.
The company’s timeline begins in 1892 when two brothers, Gustav and Albert Voigts from Brunswick in Germany, together with their business partner Fritz Wecke, first arrived in Namibia. Their original trade post saw its humble beginnings in Okahandja from where they mainly exchanged goods for cattle. This trade consisted of long and arduous trekking expeditions in harsh conditions with 500 to 700 animals at a time between South Africa and Namibia.
In 1895, the partners with a keen eye for business, opened a second store in Windhoek, exactly where the bustling Gustav Voigts Centre is located today in Independence Avenue of the capital. Wecke & Voigts mostly supplied goods to farmers, but as the company grew, so did its range of customers and products.
On an agricultural front, the brothers have received several prizes for horse breeding, cattle breeding, karakul wool, ostrich feathers, Angora goats, and mules. They became the first karakul sheep farmers in Namibia and Wecke & Voigts thus became the first to export karakul wool. The family was prominent landowners – Voigtsgrund saw the construction of a European mansion that became one of the economic, cultural and political centres of South West Africa at the time, while Voigtskirch was the first dairy farm in the country.
Although the brothers opened stores in other towns, by 1965, Wecke & Voigts was completely focussed on expanding in Windhoek.
The original trade building in the former Kaiser Street (now Independence Avenue) makes way for a new and improved one.
W&V celebrates 50 years of business excellence.
The former Voigts residence makes way for a new building. The ground floor becomes the wholesale department, while the upper floor is kitted out to become the grocery section. Kaffeebar is born from the need to separate the service from the newly introduced self-service sections. The street-facing side of the building is redesigned with large windows to showcase fashion items.
W&V’s 75th anniversary.
1971 – 1973
As the business is constantly expanding, the need for a bigger space starts to arise. For financial viability and to make the most of the available space, the best option is to construct a 3-level shopping centre in association with financial institutions as shareholders. This enables W&V to continue business in a spacious, modern and fully air-conditioned (a first in Namibia) shop under the same roof as other institutions, shops, a parking garage and a renowned hotel.
W&V Wholesale moved to Tommie Muller Street in the Northern Industrial Area of Windhoek, where it is still located today.
W&V is one century old.
MILESTONES AFTER THE MILLENNIUM
Due to the demand of consumers in search of the best in local and imported products, Wecke & Voigts joins the SPAR Buying Group.
Robert Voigts, son of Dieter Voigts, joins the company as SPAR store manager.
Maerua SUPERSPAR opens for business. The success of the store was astounding and paved the road to the opening of other SPAR stores.
The purchasing of Hochland Spar follows. W&V Retail and Kaffee Bar receive a complete interior revamp. This change comes along with a new corporate identity, visual identity and logo.
The opening of both Grove Superspar and Westlane Spar. In with the new, and updating the old, W&V Wholesale got a new visual identity accompanied with interior and exterior renovations.
Chief Executive Officer Dieter Voigts hands over the reins to his son, Robert Voigts. Dieter continues to serve on the board as Non-Executive Chairman.
125 years of etwas Besonderes/Something special.
W&V is one century old.