From an informal youth center café to an SME
The history of the Parterre Basel is a long one, and one spurred by social engagement.
In 1942, the BFA (Basler Freizeitaktion, engl. “Basel Recreational Activities”) was founded with the goal of establishing an open youth work center. The idea was to offer diversion for the youth during the hard times of the on-going war — such as workshops and open meeting points, but also activities such as choirs, hiking, and trips. Today, the BFA still operates several youth centers and activities, albeit now as JuAr Basel.
In 1975, the BFA opens the “Kaffi Schlappe” next to the Kaserne, including a youth counselling center, probably one of the first of its kind in Switzerland. Since 1992, the restaurant has continuously been developed and expanded according to economic criteria.
With the takeover of the premises previously used by the GGG library on the first floor/ground floor, the restaurant now stands on its own feet as a business. In 1999, the Restaurant Parterre is opened, replacing the “Kaffi” but still keeping the aspects of social engagement and youth work in place. The business behind the restaurant is accordingly called Parterre Basel but still run by the BFA.
Over the next few years, the company expands further, incorporating more subsectors to its business areas. Amongst others, laundry and cleaning services are now offered, and a buvette (an outdoor snack bar) is opened during the summer months on the Rhine bank. Additionally, the restaurant Rialto (2003) and the event hall Querfeld (2007) have been taken over as venues, which is another step for the Parterre Basel to become an SME.
As you can see, the formerly socially engaged youth center has become a profit-oriented and economically minded business with a focus on cultural and social engagement.
In 2006, the BFA hands over the Parterre Basel business to four private investors. As a result, the previously established business was split into the Parterre AG (Gastronomy, cultural arts, events), and Parterre Tangram (social engagement, work integration, etc.)
Mid-2015 sees another change that is indicative of future developments. Yvonne Hürlimann-Hockenjos, the long-standing patron, is now joint owner of the afore-mentioned established businesses, together with Peter Sterli und Roland Aebi. In addition, Yvonne Hürlimann-Hockenjos’ granddaughter, Diane Hürlimann, has been delegated to the Board of Directors and the shareholders’ meeting/committee.