Still cool since 1927

How Schweitzer is able to offer tailormade plug-in refrigeration and circumvent supply global bottlenecks.

Angelika Engl, Head of Marketing and CSO North America, talks about the benefits of its innovative solutions, and how Schweitzer manages to achieve fast delivery turnaround during this global supply bottleneck.


How would you summarise your business offering?

Schweitzer is a design & build company with its own production in wood, metal & refrigeration. Our sister company Interstore is a specialised & multiple award-winning retail design agency, and together we develop innovative & differentiated retail concepts for our clients all over the world. Our refrigeration products are environmentally low impact, built around product first principles and available for fast turnaround. These advantages make Schweitzer a compelling partner not just for tailor-made refrigerated solutions, but for entire store projects & department roll-out projects.

What are the advantages of plug-in refrigeration Vs conventional CO2?


At the heart of the plug-in approach is the flexibility offered by mobilisation of the furniture, providing retailers with the superior advantage to adapt their stores and department layouts according to changing assortments. This benefits both the consumer in terms of addressing their changing needs, but also the retailer, who saves money and energy efficiency over the long term due to the savings associated with part-renovations through the lifecycle of the store. With the trend toward smaller stores, the implementation of plug-in furniture for the whole store or single new department renovations is the easiest and smartest option available right now.


Long-term energy efficiency.

With typical CO2 systems, the plant is designed to supply optimum cooling according to the refrigeration needs of the store. However, when the retailer changes or adds more refrigeration, which has been the case for most retailers over recent years, the plant is no longer optimised for the increased supply requirement. Long runs of CO2 copper pipes are also fundamentally inefficient, which has a huge effect over its lifetime.  With integrated cooling, the proximity guarantees efficiency of the unit and is consistently efficient throughout its entire life.


The Waterloop system.

Schweitzer has invested heavily into plug-in furniture in combination with waterloop systems, which make the use of plug-in furniture a genuine alternative for larger footprints. The waterloop requires no plant, just a small unit that cools the water before running through flexible pipes, then through each piece to cool the integrated unit within the furniture. By carrying away the heat they generate from the store, the waterloop helps to alleviate AC systems in the summer, while providing the option to use the generated hot water for heating in the winter. It’s a win-win regardless of the climatic conditions of the store locale. The pipes are easy to install, move & maintain, adding a huge amount of flexibility to the installation.


Long-term cost saving.

Unlike conventional CO2 systems, plug-in furniture requires no copper pipes from the floor, in-fact, all the services such as data and electrics is serviced from a flexible grid in the ceiling, including waste, which is pumped up and away from the retail area. If you take a typical store with a 10-year lifecycle, you can be sure that there’ll be countless alterations to the layout, each time resulting in the need to bring in specialist plumbers at great expense & material cost. Plug-in systems can be moved or maintained by non-engineers, resulting in no damage to floor surfaces and with layout changes managed in a far quicker timeframe.

What is your philosophy behind product presentation?

It’s easy. The product is king, and the furniture should be invisible where possible. Interstore is the design partner of Schweitzer and has been working on grocery projects around the world for decades. Interstore bring conviction of thinking in terms of product presentation, fresh departments, and the overall store experience. With this holistic customer-centric approach to design, and Schweitzer’s customised cooling expertise, together we are building innovative solutions that solve for both the retailer and for the end consumer.

The result of the partnership between Interstore & Schweitzer is a full assortment of tailor-made refrigerated plug-in furniture that, though the application of design & technology, elevates the product presentation and reduces the physical presence of the furniture itself. Shoppers are not buying the furniture, so the role of furniture is to wow the customer with the freshest & most beautifully presented products, and the best way to achieve it is to design the furniture to be discrete as possible. Long and successful client relationships can be attributed to our ‘product first’ philosophy, where the goods & the merchandise, like the customer, is always king and at the base of all considerations.

Schweitzer has its own productions in Europe. What are your lead times to North America for instance?

We are currently shipping 2 containers a week to clients in the US and Canada, with lots of additional capacity. With the current situation, retailers are facing ongoing problems with supply bottlenecks, often unavoidable when productions depend on deliveries from overseas. Because we are smaller and more agile in our production, Schweitzer does not have the problem of many of the larger international refrigeration suppliers. Because we design, supply, and build whole stores or single departments for roll-out, we can guarantee projects as well as refrigeration product-related solutions, faster and on schedule.