21st Birthday!

In July of 2003 the Birkenstock in the Hills store opened its doors in the town of Hahndorf, South Australia, just 28km southeast of Adelaide. The previous owner was impressed with the comfort and quality of Birkenstock footwear and saw an opening in the market as there were no Birkenstock stores in the Adelaide Hills. The store was and still is located in a character-laden building that was once a blacksmiths shop, constructed in 1880. Once the store was opened, it quickly became a sanctuary for customers who sought comfortable, high quality and environmentally friendly footwear. Not only were Birkenstocks stocked but also other comfort shoe brands such as El Naturalista, Josef Seibel and Naot. It immediately had a warm and earthy feel that was very different to the modern shoe shops that you would find in lots of shopping centres. Customers were drawn to not only the comfortable shoes on offer, but the atmosphere and service that was given.  

After 9 years of owning the business, it was put on the market for a Birkenstock lover to begin their journey. Jackie and her husband Phil, took a leap and began their Birkenstock business journey in January 2012. With family heritage being German, it was fitting that they would sell German footwear in a town settled by Germans. Their daughter is also involved in helping run the business, so it very much became a small, family shared business with each taking on particular responsibilities.  

Jackie and Philip had loved Birkenstocks for years. Jackie began wearing Birkenstocks as a child in the 70s in Papua New Guinea. Her mother traced around her foot, giving the outline to a friend going back to Germany for a holiday, who then returned with a pair of white Arizona. They felt aligned with everything that the brand represented and had shared goals to expand the business. Jackie’s interest in stocking other comfort, eco friendly and high quality branded footwear grew and she started to explore these in the shop. 

Buying the business was a big leap for the now owners, as they had never worked in retail before, let alone owned a business. Although there have been, and continue to be many challenges, it has been a great journey providing opportunities for everyone to constantly learn and grow. 

One of the owners main goals is to renovate the store inside but doing so in a way that compliments the historical nature of the building. Customers frequently express that they appreciate the uniqueness of the store, so they want to ensure that this is not lost. They purchased the premises and have begun this process by making improvements in the back area. 

Another goal is to continue growing and improving the online store which commenced in 2015. The online store has become such a significant portion of the business and customers Australia wide have been able to make purchases with fast and efficient service. As of this year 2024, there are exciting new chapters starting for the business which we can’t wait to share (STAY TUNED).

Ten staff (including the owners) share in the day to day running of the business. We are so thankful to have such a great team who understand the importance of attention to detail, customer service and a shared passion for quality footwear. These are ingredients that make our store special. 

When it comes to customers, they vary greatly. We have people travel to Hahndorf from all over South Australia, interstate and internationally. Many of our customers are repeat as they love the uniqueness of our shop, it’s warmth, our great range and the charm of the town. Lots of Adelaide Hills locals also frequent the store, many of whom we’ve come to know well over the years. We are thankful for the continuous customer support both in-store and online, and for the ongoing enjoyment of the brand we personally appreciate so much. It is always a continuous motivation to know that we have helped so many customers whether it be for troubled feet, developing foot issues, work shoes or simply assisting those in finding an everyday comfort shoe. 

 As we celebrate Birkenstock in the Hills 21st Birthday this July, we look back on where the business started, to now, in 2024. Technology has grown immensely transforming the way customers choose to shop, the demand for comfortable/quality footwear has grown and our team has expanded. Nonetheless, with all these changes and growth, we still remain the quaint shoe shop in the charming town of Hahndorf. We hope to continue providing great comfortable footwear for many years to come. Hip Hip Hooray! 

Birkenstock Hahndorf Birthday celebrations