“Healthy people, healthy business.” The slogan of the CK Group, which celebrates its 75th anniversary on Thursday, sums up its two markets: office technology solutions --with a turnover of €33m-- and sports activities, which generated €7m in revenue last year.
“I knew Charles Kieffer well, and he was quite innovative for his generation,” says Laure Elsen, partner and general manager in charge of marketing and finance. Starting out with a small camera and projector shop in Steinfort after the Second World War, the entrepreneur, who had a passion for sports, developed both activities and passed on his company to the Elsen family, who have owned the company since the death of its founder in 2013.
“Charles Kieffer was a close friend of my grandfather. He was not married and had no children,” says Elsen. His mother, Suzette, joined the company in the 1980s and became the founder's right-hand woman, alongside other employees such as Josy Frisch and Bernard Hugo.
Our common thread is the corporate-related documentation.
“The transition to the third generation is in place,” says David Gray, who has been general manager since last year, after gathering 25 years of experience in document processing.
The company now employs 200 people, 150 of whom work in office technology. “Our common thread is corporate-related documentation,” summarises Gray.
The service provider counts 4,000 customers in this segment. Its customers range from SMEs to multinationals and institutional clients. While the offer for small organisations responds to the acceleration of digital transformation and remote access to documents, printing remains a major activity for larger organisations. Regardless, related solutions such as cloud tools and management solutions are also part of the CK Group's business. In addition, the company markets screens and air purifiers.
Initially confined to the grand duchy thanks to the territorial exclusivity it signed with the Konica Minolta brand, the development of technological and cloud activities is now broadening the company's horizon. “We have given ourselves five years to allow the company to evolve in this direction,” says Gray, who is targeting the three border countries.
To accelerate our growth and for some new activities, we may consider an external takeover.
In Luxembourg, the group also has ambitions: “To accelerate our growth and for certain new activities, we may consider an external takeover,” he adds. His preference is for a local company that is more active in office technology. "The international vision is a little more medium to long-term.”
Fitness and snowshoes hold out
On the sports side, the four fitness gyms are making use of personalised services based on the needs of their members, aided by technological tools and a mobile application that provides tailored advice.
The CK Sportcenter in Kockelscheuer is preparing to expand its offer with the opening of four new indoor paddle courts at the end of November and an academy the following month.
“Padel is a Spanish sport that is easily exported because it is very easy to access. It is a combination of tennis and squash played by four players with a more accessible technical level,” says Gray. Currently, badminton remains the leading sport in the complex with 14 courts, ahead of tennis (10 courts) and squash (8 courts).
Although the covid-19 pandemic forced the sports facilities to close twice, the complex located on the edge of the Kockelscheuer forest claims to have benefitted from a sustained attendance due to the shorter duration of the restrictions in the country.
This context has also pushed the company to reinvent itself with the launch of a "fit truck" which offers fitness members training sessions in the countryside. This can be interpreted as a nod to Kieffer. The founder was mayor of Steinfort in the early 1970s and, in keeping with his sporting approach, built the first fitness trail in the forest.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.