Café Konditorei Klement

4 Jan

I went to have breakfast with a friend at Café Konditorei Klement in the 17th district and found that they closed their doors on December 31st. The friend actually has been a customer there much longer than I have and was able to give me a bit of background, although she, too, hadn’t known they were closing.

It is a fairly typical story not only for Vienna. The children–in this case a daughter–didn’t want to take on the business so that when the parents reached an age where they could no longer keep the café going (and, let’s face it, it is very long hours and hard work with no great financial return) the café closed. The photo below of the notice outside Café Konditorei Klement explains the circumstances to some extent. Another factor may very well have been that the terms on the lease changed with the new proprietor. This makes it even harder for children to take over the business and make a good living.

Klement was, in fact, one of the few hold-outs left. A number of other Konditoreien (fine pastry shops) have become chains–centralized their production and standardized their look, taking over family businesses with sound customer bases as they close. In fact, L. Heiner, who is taking over the Klement premises, is one such company. Originally a very select pastry shop in the First District it has grown to simply a very good mass producer and distributor of creamy cakes. (Can you tell where my preferences lie? ;-))

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It reminds me a little of the sign Kathleen Kelly hangs on her children’s bookstore in “You’ve Got Mail” when she accepts the inevitable. One paragraph above says: We thank you for your loyalty over all those years. It was a pleasure to fulfill your wishes and delight you with our work. Thank you for having been our customers!

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