It was a risk to start a company in an empty factory building on April 26, 1938, in uncertain times and with limited capital resources. But Anton Engel and Eugen Habermaaß were willing to take this risk: they founded the Anton Engel company, a factory for polished wooden products in Bad Rodach, then going on to found a second company a few days later with Karl Wehrfritz: Wehrfritz & Co.
In 1940, Eugen Habermaaß assumed sole responsibility for the company after his equal partners pulled out. With vision, a strong will, and perseverance, he saw the companies safely though the Second World War and the subsequent occupation.
In 1955, Eugen Habermaaß passed away quite suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 53. Though his wife Luise Habermaaß had been helping out at the firm for a number of years, her next step took a great deal of courage: the mother of four took the helm without any formal training in business or technology. Her sense of social responsibility towards the company’s employees back then is the main reason the company is still in existence today. Luise Habermaaß quickly demonstrated a fine sense of the demands of the market. With a great deal of determination and the support of her long-term employees, she fought to make her own personal economic miracle a success in the 50s. Luise Habermaaß, honorary citizen of the city of Bad Rodach, died in 2003 shortly before her 97th birthday.
Her son Klaus Habermaaß had already joined the company in 1961 after completing a traineeship in cabinetmaking and getting his engineering degree from the state university. The 24-year-old began as a sales assistant, and went on to assume responsibility gradually for the technology, finance and development divisions, while his mother Luise Habermaaß continued to focus on product range development at Wehrfritz. This division of labor worked quite well.
Today Klaus Habermaaß is the managing director of the corporate family that he continues to lead with an unmistakable sense of market and product development, a strong will, and a great deal of social responsibility towards the company’s employees. The continual development of the company was and is a central element of his philosophy. And as an honorary citizen, the needs of the community and the development of the city of Bad Rodach are also close to his heart.
Today we are a successful corporate family. Like every family, we have parents who founded and built up the family: Eugen and Luise Habermaaß; and children who will lead us into the future: Klaus Habermaaß. Neither war, nor the division of Germany or economic fluctuations could hold this family back. One of their greatest merits: they have created and continue to create jobs in a region that is economically disadvantaged.
History of the HABA Family
1940Anton Engel and Karl Wehrfritz leave and Eugen Habermaaß becomes the sole managing director of both companies.
1955After the death of her husband, Luise Habermaaß takes over the management of the Habermaaß and Wehrfritz firms.
1961After an apprenticeship in cabinetmaking and a course of study at the Rosenheim Engineering School, Klaus Habermaaß takes on an active role in the company at the age of 24.
1971The firm moves to new premises for administration, production and warehousing in August-Grosch-Straße.Two more construction phases are completed over the next few years.
1980The HABA company takes over the "Skaneateles Handicrafters" company located in upstate New York/USA. The company name is later changed to "T.C. Timber". In 2002 T.C.Timber is restructured and becomes the sales, marketing and distribution center HABA USA.
1986Construction on Factory III begins in Werner-von-Siemens-Straße. By 2008, 8 more construction phases are complete, expanding the site for production, logistics and distribution.
1987JAKO-O, a mail-order company for families with children ages 0 to 10, is founded. 1993 HABA S.a.r.l. is founded in Evry near Paris.
1998Annual sales for the company are around 100 million euros.
2001The number of people employed by the corporate family employs exceeds 1,000 for the first time.
2004Catalogs from the new FIT-Z and Qiéro companies expand the JAKO-O range.
2006The corporate family moves into the new "Brauhof" reception and office building. 2007The corporate family achieves annual sales of more than 250 million euros and employs over 1,500 people.
20082 of 5 new warehouses are completed in Elsaer Straße. They cover an area of approx. 3600 m2 and 5300 m2.The company crèche, which opened in 2004, is expanded and moves into larger premises in the former home of Luise Habermaaß.
2009In August, Wehrfritz GmbH acquired an interest in the company project GmbH, Lutherstadt, Eisleben. Wehrfritz Polen Sp. z o.o. was founded in November.
2010The JAKO-O Family Store GmbH & Co.KG. came into being in January.
2014HABA USA begins to manufacture some of the wooden toys in ASIA