Posted by: Jerry Garrett | August 5, 2010

Guys: Switzerland’s Ultimate Outlet Mall!

Alpenrhein Village in Landquart: Home of unexpected treasures.

Switzerland is not a shopper’s paradise. Or, to be more charitable, let us say that it is not generally known for its low prices.

But there are bargains to be found in Switzerland, if one looks hard enough. And I cite one notable example to be found in Landquart, in eastern Switzerland (almost on the border with Liechtenstein.) Landquart is home to an outlet mall. (Correct me, dear readers if I am wrong, but isn’t this Switzerland’s ONLY outlet mall?) Officially it is known as Alpenrhein Village.

Larger-than-life values

Let me preface this by saying that factory outlets were once promising one-off stores, in out-of-the-way places (preferably attached to an actual factory) where the price-conscious shopper could look for factory-direct bargains, overstocks, sale items and close-outs. They have devolved into being mostly ripoffs – predictable clusters of stores in remote locales, where name-brand manufacturers sell low-grade knock-offs of their own products. This is a sales strategy that is even dumber than it sounds.

It's a guy thing...

But occasionally, one will stumble upon a store offering true value – the kind of value that brought the whole outlet concept into being, in the first place. And at Landquart, among all the usual stupid shops like the Nike outlet, or the jeans outlet, or the generic kitchen gadget outlet, there is something unique: The Swiss Army outlet.

Nirvana for guys! The world's only Victorinox Swiss Army factory outlet (Jerry Garrett Photos)

For men, this is akin to finding a power tool outlet, a Rawlings baseball glove factory store, or a rib eye steak outlet. For women, I can’t say what the equivalent might be; perhaps a Ferragamo shoe, Tom Ford sunglasses or Louis Vuitton purse outlet (preferably, all rolled into one)?

Landquart, it was grandly announced last fall, is now home to the world’s first and only Victorinox outlet. These are the folks who make most of the Swiss Army products, such as the ubiquitous knives, luggage and clothing.

I had to go there.

What!?! Not one, but two Swiss Army outlets in the same complex? Pinch me.

But I arrived in a thunderstorm. I ignored advice from the local tourist office to park in a covered lot, south of the complex. Instead, I went to the uncovered northern lot. I had to sprint through the deluge to the nearest bit of shelter. Imagine my surprise when that bit of shelter turned out to be – ta da! – the World’s Only Wenger Swiss Army outlet store. Two, competing Swiss Army outlets – in the same complex?

Get your tool engraved!

Not even Hollywood would script such a discovery. Be still, my heart (and wallet). Several hundred dollars later, I escaped with just enough booty to cram into my luggage without being fingered as a terrorist on the flight home: A Swiss tool, a replacement for the Swiss Champ that was confiscated at the airport when I forget to remove it from my carryon after a car trip; and the world’s only LEFT-HANDED Swiss Army knife. Who even knew such things existed? Wenger even had a monogramming tool, to add a personalized touch to each purchase.

I apologize to my daughter, who got nothing (except soaked from the rain) from this shopping spree. It was totally a “guy” thing.

18 bars: Such restraint!

Oh, we did make one other discovery on our way out of the Landquart outlet mall:  A Lindt chocolate factory outlet.

We limited ourselves to only 18 bars.

Jerry Garrett

August 5, 2010

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Responses

  1. hi there jerry,
    this post of yours piqued my interest… i was wondering if there’s any chance that u can tell me the address of the wenger and lindt outlets? thanks!

    rhea


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