The Croozer story

Andreas-Gehlen-hat-1993-die-heutige-Croozer-GmbH-in-Koeln-Suelz-gegruendet

Andreas Gehlen

Cologne native, 3 children, founder of the company now known as Croozer GmbH, will tell you the story of Croozer!

Andreas-Gehlen-suchte-Anfang-der-90er-Jahre-eine-Moeglichkeit-seine-Tochter-Hanna-sicher-mit-dem-Fahrrad-zu-transportieren

The first encounter

The history of the company now known as Croozer dates back to 1993. At the time, I had a 3-year-old daughter and had been living car-free in the Sülz district of Cologne for several years. It all started with a problem: how to take my daughter, Hanna, and her best friend, Lisa, to the playground. Transporting both of them by bike was obviously infeasible. Looking for a solution, I did a bit of research and soon happened upon the subject of bicycle trailers. It seemed like a brilliant idea: the ability to transport two children plus cargo by bike opened up a whole new world for me. The children were also totally thrilled with their new two-wheeled playroom. Child trailers in those days consisted of a frame with an aluminium floor and flimsily sewn-in seats. In line with the trends of the 90s, their colours were bold and garish. In spite of their unsophisticated designs, they were the only product that made it possible for me to get around in the city with two children and one bike.

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Founding a business – from courtyard garage to medium-sized company

As a new bicycle-trailer enthusiast, I began wondering who was selling them and how much retailers knew about this type of product. I called 500 German bike shops to find out whether they sold bicycle trailers and if not, why. The results were clear: the trailer was still a niche product that had received little attention to date, and practically no one was actively marketing them. On the basis of this information, I founded the company Zwei plus zwei Marketing GmbH and created a catalogue as a virtual shop window for dealers, who in turn could order trailers from me as a wholesaler. I stored the products in a rented courtyard garage in Cologne-Sülz. The business model worked, and within a few years, Zwei plus zwei Marketing GmbH had grown from a one-man operation to a medium-sized wholesaler with over 40 employees.

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The birth of Croozer

As the years went by, we began focusing on the strongest and most popular brands, and our product range became more and more consolidated. By 2003 we had begun selling primarily Chariot bike trailers and working with the then owners (two brothers from Canada) to further improve the product. With increasing market success came the desire to apply the knowledge we had gained through our many years of experience as a distributor and develop our own product line with producer responsibility to better serve the needs of the customers.
This desire led to the launch of our own brand, Croozer, in the summer of 2003. “Cruising” was a term I associated with the concepts of simplicity, companionship, everyday life and freedom, and I felt that it therefore perfectly captured the spirit of the brand. In no time at all, Croozer became one of Germany’s most popular bicycle trailers. I still feel amazed by the success.

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From Zwei plus zwei GmbH to Croozer GmbH

When in 2011 the Thule Group acquired Chariot Carriers, Zwei plus zwei stopped distributing Thule (formerly Chariot) bicycle trailers. As a result, we were finally able to focus all our energy on the ongoing development of the Croozer brand, and within four years’ time we had already registered a number of patents. For me, Croozer is a promise of quality. The needs of our customers have been our top priority from day one. This is why I believe that the key to good product development is staying in contact with the people who use our products.
In 2016 we decided to strengthen the company’s identity by changing the company name to the brand name – which is why we are now known as Croozer GmbH.
Since then, we have been filling Europe’s streets with our bicycle trailers and working constantly and passionately on this great and – in my opinion – likeable brand that makes me proud every day. And after all this time, we still have big visions that inspire and motivate us!

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New leadership after 25 years – including the next family generation

As a business owner, I see myself as a servant leader: it’s me who serves the company, not the other way around. This is why for more than 25 years I’ve been working with great commitment and passion on both my own development and that of my company. I was very honoured when my daughter decided to pursue her business ambitions and join the company in 2016 after finishing her studies. In my opinion, an external perspective is particularly important for family-owned companies. Accordingly, an important milestone was reached in January of 2018 with the appointment of Markus Krill as managing director. With the new managing director trio and our outstanding staff of approx. 40 people, everything is in place to continue striving towards our shared vision.

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Entirely new product portfolio – with new names!

I am very proud of the 2020 product portfolio, which we launched at the 2019 Eurobike. The Croozer Kids were given new features and a fresh look, two new models were added to the Cargo family, and exciting new accessories were developed for the Dog. Moreover, we took the big step of introducing a new naming system for our bicycle trailers: since then Vaaya, Keeke, Peppa, Jokke, Bruuno, Kalle, Pakko and Tuure have been populating the streets of Europe!

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Change of leadership: Hanna takes over

On 1 January 2020 my daughter, Hanna, took over the leadership of the company. Since then, I have turned my attention to new goals, while remaining active in the bicycle sector. And in any case, I plan to continue fighting for climate-neutral mobility! Markus Krill continues to lead the company at Hanna’s side. My daughter’s husband, Stefan Grau, functions as a consultant. I wish the three of them all the best and am delighted that they are successfully developing my original vision and the idea behind the Croozer brand!

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Croozer relocates - New work at its best

With all the changes it had undergone, Croozer moved to a new location in Hürth (near Cologne) in March 2020. The open-space offices with several flexible workspaces were designed to facilitate a fun atmosphere with open exchange and interdisciplinary teamwork. You can learn more about our company structure and offices on the page “About us”.

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More new stuff - Design relaunch 2021

At the start of 2021, Croozer rolled out a new look for itself. The numerous changes that had been made in the previous year inspired us to turn our attention to our logo and introduce a new design. We hope you like it as much as we do!

Croozin’