Andreas Stihl AG & Co.
The public road ends at Stihl's gated and guarded entrance. It's somewhat surprising coming across this factory complex because it's in a quiet residential area alongside the gentle flowing river. Getting off my bike I check in with the guard who also mans the visitor reception area. The guard doesn't speak English but lets me use the phone to call one of the secretaries to Hans Peter Stihl, President, and the person to whom I mailed the letter. It seems they have no record of receiving my letter but someone will be down in a few minutes to talk.
Waiting in the reception
area I count seven plants (real) along with several glass display
cases containing six of Stihl's power tools including a weed
whacker. On the walls hang three pictures of smiling people using
According to a company brochure, the Stihl Group achieved sales in 1998 of two billion DM (84% outside of Germany) while sales of the parent company Andreas Stihl AG & Co. totaled 909 million-DM. One page in the brochure lists nine items under the heading, "Company Philosophy". Reading item number eight makes me roll my eyes: "We are convinced that important reasons for our business success are good internal and external relationships. Therefore, major importance is given at STIHL to maintaining personal contacts".