Having an eye for things – and for making them grow – has always been a part of Schou’s DNA. It runs in a straight line from the first Schou; Johannes Schou, who with a head full of ideas decided to open a grocery store in Vamdrup, near Kolding. WWI is approaching. The year is 1912.
The grocery store is only the beginning for Johannes. The store is quickly expanded with a large drugstore, where he sells pharmaceuticals and chemicals. When the war breaks out, he is fast to establish a factory which produces surrogate foods. Yes, it is not real cocoa, real coffee or real spices, but the Danes long for the taste of something that they cannot get any longer.
For Johannes, the key to growth is being aware of what people need the most. After the war when the Danes can throw the surrogate foods into the bin again, he turns his attention to another business area on the rise: Quick-drying varnish for cleaning and opens Schou Farve- og Lakfabrik.
Fate wants Johannes to get glaucoma. He becomes blind during the 1920s but he does not lose sight of his business at any point. With the help of Kirstine Schou, and their nine children, he continues to develop new business areas and drives the ’Vamdrupian’ dynasty onwards.
This also includes investments in the Christian organisation, Indre Mission and helping people in need. For Johannes is not only a gifted merchant, he is also a man that believes strongly in God. Everything he does, he does with the belief that common interest always precedes personal gain. Among many things he transforms Hotel Vamdrup to a Christian hotel and creates a health resort for women with tuberculosis.
Johannes’ talent for trade, his willpower and eye for things leaves a huge mark on Vamdrup until his death in 1939. From being a small rural town Vamdrup grows into a city of commerce and when Vamdrup was on the receiving end of a new IC3 train in 1991, there was only one name for it: Johannes Schou.