27
Oct
2020
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The Evolution of Koch & Co – The Papas Family

Nothing is truer than the saying “from little things, big things grow”. This humble idea has been at the core of Koch & Co’s evolution throughout the years; an evolution built by hard work and family. So where did it all begin?

The Koch & Co business was first established by Henry Koch in 1931. Henry was a German immigrant with a thirst for the business of import and wholesale trading. After 65 years of dedicated work, the Koch Family passed on the business to another family, the Papas Family. Karl Papas purchased the business in April 1996 just after Mr Koch had passed away. 

“Just before I bought the business, my father asked me, ‘Are you sure this business is for you?’ ”

Karl Papas

In 1996 the business was located in a residential area in Probert Camperdown. The premise was a triangular building built on a corner of two merging streets. The main office was in the ‘pointy part’ of the building, which was quite strange to visiting suppliers and customers. 

When the Papas family bought the business, not much had changed over the years since Mr Koch had started it. The shelves and internal fixtures were old, as was a lot of the stock. The place was a real treasure trove, and that is what everyone who visited was excited to see. 

Mr Koch had travelled the world and brought back many beautiful products from Italy, England, and other European countries. During his time he not only sold florist supplies but also sold many items used to make sympathy arrangements and even coffins.

The Papas family’s background was importing craft products, such as embroidery threads, tapestries, folk art paints, and basically most items you will find in Spotlight or Lincraft today. The Papas family already exclusively managed such brands as DMC, Plaid, and Zweigart. So, when Karl from the Papas family came across the Koch & Co business, there were already many similarities to their previous business.

Due to changing times, the business had to move on from being the lovely treasure trove on the corner in a triangular building. It was known around Camperdown that the neighbours were not too fond of Koch & Co’s trucks unloading in the narrow streets. 

Six months later, an opportunity came up and Karl moved the business just 1km away to Hordern Place, Camperdown. There, he was able to find new and exciting products, and restructure and grow the business reasonably quickly. Following the big move is when Koch & Co truly became a family affair again, when Karl’s brother Fonda, and their father joined him. 

Together, Karl and Fonda established a great customer base and bought a couple of trucks to keep up with the growing deliveries. It was not long until more space was needed, so naturally, they took on another warehouse. Unfortunately, this warehouse caught fire and before they knew it they were looking for another site. This twist of fate brought Koch & Co to its current location in Auburn where it has been for the last 14 years. 

Koch & Co Shop now photo
The NEW Koch & Co Auburn Superstore

“We have been privileged to work with “salt of the earth” florist customers. They have taught us so many things and we have tried our hardest to provide them with the best service we can. That is why today we love sourcing new products and keeping up with the trends”

Karl Papas
Koch Store inside image
The NEW Koch & Co Auburn Superstore

To learn more about Koch & Co’s rich history read our other Koch Blog article Who was Henry Koch and how did Koch & Co begin. Feel free to pop into our Auburn superstore to visit our friendly Koch & Co staff who are ready to help you with any queries.

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2 Responses

    1. Karl Papas

      Thanks for your comments Mr Georgiou KYPIANOS. We make a clear distinction between when the Papas family have taken over the business for the Koch family. Quite frankly, after Mr Koch had passed, his family did not leave much of a business behind, but enough of a foundation for us to start with. We did not get an opportunity to see and experience any of the historical benefits Mr Koch had established. So my apologise that I could not state much about the early days of the Koch business. I have however gone to the trouble to chase down the Koch family and write an article about Mr Koch which you may enjoy – https://www.koch.com.au/blog/who-was-henry-koch-and-how-did-koch-co-begin. Thank you.

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