Klaus Habermaass: I went to my first Spielwarenmesse after the currency reform. At the time, HABA was a two-man team – notably my father and myself, his 11-year old son. The trade fair was staged at what was called the Wieseler Haus, a large, multi-storey building in the city centre. My job was to run up and down the endless staircase many, many times during the day and to haul merchandise, decoration, tools, food, etc. to the top floor. That was cumbersome, but it meant a day off school.
What did your booths at the fair look like during the first years?
K.H.: We used our black Volkswagen Beetle (with a split rear window) to cart the booth, exhibits, decoration and – very important back then – our provisions to Nuremberg. Of course, my father was the boss, the driver, the handyman, and the exhibitor. My special job was to decorate a beer table – our booth – with blue and yellow crêpe paper and to place the HABA-Spiele logo accordingly. I handled all the decoration materials, like crêpe paper and tacks, with extreme care because, naturally, everything was re-used!
What did you as a child take from your father’s trade fair presences?
K.H.: My father offered his products behind the beer table and as I recall they consisted of counting sticks, calculating discs and a few simple wooden toys. In the meantime, I ate the bread I had brought along and was grateful when every now and then a stranger would spare a kind word for me.
I learned just how important and significant it is to be polite. The words and gestures of my father showed me that he was quite satisfied with the business success immediately after the currency reform.
Some stories stay with you forever! Which one is it for you regarding the Spielwarenmesse?
K.H.: On the way home – today’s ring road, the Frankenschnellweg, did not exist back then – we drove through many wonderful places with great inns. My father rewarded me with some fried fish and I can literally taste its wonderful flavour to this very day.
Which trends did you observe at your own company that were reflected in the development of the Spielwarenmesse?
K.H.: Over the past decades, our company has naturally progressed and is no longer serves the toy industry in exclusivity. That is why I know many trade fairs at home and abroad, as well as exhibitors and visitors. Nuremberg and the Spielwarenmesse to me is not only an important trade fair because of my personal memories, and it can certainly boast a praiseworthy development.
Thank you for sharing your memories of the Spielwarenmesse.