In 1914 the Mulder Firm started as a screenplay printing office combined with a costume rental, located at the Gedempte Zuiderdiep 47. Today, one century later, they’re still located in this building. The printing office was sold and nowadays they’re the oldest and most popular party store in Groningen. We spoke to loyal employee Jonas, who could tell us everything about the secret of this small shop, his experiences with Groningen as ‘dress-up-town’ and a lot more.
Who – Jonas Impe
Age – 19
Study – Media Design at the Alfa-College
Has been working for 4,5 years (!!) at Mulder Firm
How did you end up here, at Mulder Firm?
“In secondary school I had to do an internship at the age of fourteen. My sister almost forced me to walk into this store and ask them if I could do it here. Eventually I tried and got the internship! After that week, my boss asked me if I was interested in working here as soon as I would turn 15. Of course I was interested and after four and a half years I’ve never regretted that decision”.
Groningen is known as ‘dress-up-town’ since almost every party has a theme and the students actually stick to it. How are your experiences with this phenomena?
“Of course I notice that many students visit Mulder Firm. ALso, I notice that they really enjoy getting dressed up. Some people only dress up for a party because they ‘have to’, but students really like picking out costumes. For them, the party already starts in the store.
Also, I’ve heard about party stores in Brabant (a province in the south of the Netherlands) which only open during Carnival, as they don’t sell enough during the rest of the year. Luckily, we don’t have that problem here in Groningen!”
And when they come to pick out their costumes, which items are the most popular?
“At the moment we’re experiencing a ‘Tiroler-trend.’ Suddenly there are many parties with a Tirol theme. Therefore, we sell many lederhosen and dirndls”.
This is the educational part of the interview: What not to wear to a costumed party?
“Regular clothing of course. Also, I think it’s boring when people aren’t creative. Don’t wear a police uniform or Indian costume. There are so many more and better options”.
I can imagine that besides students, which are obviously extremely normal people, you also have some very strange customers. Which customers have become memorable to you in these four and a half years?
“Once a couple came into the shop to buy a wedding dress and a suit. They were getting married in a Middle Age theme. Unfortunately, we didn’t have costumes like that, but we were able to order them. I thought it was quite special that they came to our shop for such an occasion”.
Do you often dress up with the Mulder Firm team?
“Yes, sometimes we get dressed up for work. During Halloween we wear red contact lenses, during Sinterklaas we dress up as Zwarte Piet and at King’s Day we are obviously dressed in orange”.
Why do you think the Mulder Firm is still so successful after a century?
“I think because of the cosiness. We are a very small shop with a long history, stuffed with a large variety of great items. As soon as a costumer arrives, the salesman quits anything he was doing and helps him or her. We like to think along with our clients. Furthermore, we don’t have the ambition to expand and become a chain. We like to stay unique. However we do like to stay modern, for example by being active on Facebook and keeping the website up to date, but the concept ‘Mulder Firm’ won’t change”.
With that vision, you’ve survived for an entire century. Congrats! How are you going to celebrate this?
“We’re going to make ten videos, one for every decennium. The second video has just been released and is about Valentine’s Day. The employees themselves are the actors and of course they’re dressed up. Take a look if you like!”
By Lucia Grijpink