Surprise in the shoe industry: The traditional and exclusive shoe brand "Kandahar" is taken over by the Thurgau entrepreneurial family Karl Müller (kybun & Joya). With the change of ownership, the production site is gradually moved from Gwatt to Sennwald.
Since 1932, the name "Kandahar" has stood for exclusive quality, craftsmanship and Swissness. Company founder Fritz von Allmen initially manufactured ski boots. He achieved a breakthrough with the après-ski boot developed in 1945. The winter-ready, lightweight and comfortable shoes with an eye-catching look quickly spread. Among the most prominent "Kandahar" wearers was Charlie Chaplin. At peak times, the family-owned company produced 15,000 pairs of shoes per year in its shoe factory in the Bernese Oberland with its 30 employees. Sales figures have slumped in recent years, partly because of the increasingly warm winters and the Corona situation. In July, the traditional company was also affected by flooding. All of this led company owner Manuel von Allmen to realize that as a small family business, he could no longer handle the challenges alone. However, it is important to him that the cult brand is preserved.
Müller family of entrepreneurs backs "Kandahar”
The two Thurgau entrepreneurs Karl Müller III and Karl Müller IV - father and son - learned through a mutual acquaintance that the shoe brand "Kandahar" was looking for a successor solution. "This was a few months ago", recalls Karl Müller IV. On their way back to Roggwil from the kybun production site in Sennwald, the two decided to get in touch with the family business and make an offer to take over the brand rights. "It was a gut decision, as so often in our lives", explains Karl Müller III. It is important to him and his son that the renowned brand does not disappear from the market and remains in the hands of a Swiss family business. A courageous decision, especially since the traditional brand is currently struggling with economic challenges. Karl Müller IV comments: "We believe in the sustainable success of the Kandahar brand. Now it's a matter of first stabilizing it and then continuously building up and re-establishing the brand." The focus is on quality, reliability and the "Swiss Made" brand.
"Kandahar" remains Swiss Made
In the future, the "Kandahar" shoes will be produced in the existing kybun manufactory in Sennwald. "The high-quality shoes require a lot of manual work. To remain competitive, we automate as many processes as possible. This is the only way we can produce sustainably in Switzerland", explains Karl Müller III. As soon as possible, the "Kandahar" shoes will be produced by the existing kybun team. In the medium and long term, additional jobs are to be created in Sennwald. "We see a strongly growing interest in genuine Swiss shoes at home and abroad", says Karl Müller IV. The first model of the new "Kandahar" era is expected to be launched in the fall of 2022. Manuel von Allmen, the previous producer of the "Kandahar" shoes, is pleased that the brand's history of tradition will continue: "In my view, the Müller family of entrepreneurs offers the best chances for Kandahar to last. I feel a great sense of security. In addition, the sympathies are right." The two parties have agreed not to disclose the sale price.