German Stores Glad for Festival Season
By Bettina Meier
Oktoberfest is coming up, and from New Braunfels to Fredericksburg to Austin, shops that specialize in Oktoberfest clothes and German souvenirs are counting on this time of year to bring a profit.
Paula Kaeger’s German store in Fredericksburg, Kuckuck’s Nest, is packed with people looking not only for cuckoo clocks and other German souvenirs but also outfits to wear during Oktoberfest and Wurstfest next month. It’s the peak season of her year.
“The Americans actually want to be more in the German outfits here,” Kaeger said. “And then it’s a dollar issue, like, oh my gosh, blouse is extra? So I have to see that I can get a decent price for the people so they can afford it.”
A dirndl, the traditional German Oktoberfest dress, can cost up to 1,000 euros in Germany (about $1,310 at Friday’s exchange rate). That’s where Paula Kaeger buys her outfits. And because of that, she says she has been closely monitoring the European financial crisis.
“Some of my suppliers, when I see that the Euro fluctuates, I say, hey, can I wait a couple of days?” she said. “I think the dollar is coming up, or the euro is going down. So I have a quick transfer. Because basically everything I get in is cash up front.”
By monitoring the euro exchange rate every day, and buying when the euro drops, she can save several hundred dollars each week. Kaegers says a lot of other German shops in Texas do that and sell more because they can offer discounts.
She’s got $150,000 worth of dirndls right now. She’s betting she can sell a lot of them and profit from the low exchange rate.
The Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce says twice as many people are celebrating Oktoberfest there in the past two years.