Father and daughter in a family business: "The company is like a sibling"

SPIEGEL: Ms. Peters, your father runs a fourth-generation family business, you are the fifth and will soon take over. Did you grow up here in the store more or less? Charlotte Peters: Of course I've always known the store. And I can remember that I often waited downstairs to pick up dad. All employees still know me when I was little when I was deported here for an hour because Papa still had to work and had no time.

Jochen Peters: The children were always there. That is clichéd, but it is just like that in a family business. I felt the same way. During the school holidays, I filled up the shelves and sorted screws. Or sometimes sat at the cash register and earned a bit of pocket money on the side. SPIEGEL: Mr. Peters, your great-grandfather Emil Lüdemann founded the company in 1897. Is the house where the shop is today the company's headquarters? Jochen Peters: No, the first building was about a hundred meters south, where there is now a freeway entrance. Old Mr. Lüdemann was one of eleven children, and his legacy included the property. There he had his company, initially a tool factory – at that time you still made the tools and agricultural equipment yourself. One of the first customers was Hagenbeck's zoo, among other things my great-grandfather built cages for old Hagenbeck. Emil's son Hans Lüdemann joined the company in the 1920s and developed the business in the direction of retail.

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