Written by Christoph Zollinger, Kilchberg, 2001
I wrote my family history during the years 1974 to 1976. During three long years I carried out the research in the national archives of Zürich, at the record offices of numerous municipalities and in discussion with many persons of the name Zollinger, many of whom are deceased now.
I was born on the 14th of October 1939, and grew up largely in the municipality of Rüschlikon, in the Kanton Zürich. I was in training to become a businessman, and found my first positions in that field in Lausanne, Kanton Vaud, and in San Francisco, U.S.A. After returning to Switzerland I worked for twenty years in my area of speciality, the food retail business. My professional focus was the development of new marketing concepts and the launching of new stores and food retail companies. My career highlights included the first pilot store for Migros, the development of the discount food chain for Denner, the establishment of the first wholesale food company Metro and the implementation of "Food Markets" for Jelmoli. In all assignments my greatest challenge was the development of new marketing strategies to respond to evolving consumer demands and the drive towards the modernization of the food retail business.
In 1981 I started my own business as an independent consultant for the food retail business, which allowed me to further develop this fascinating type of work. As consultant to large companies such as Denner, Mövenpick, Usego, and Globus, but also for many small retail stores my aim was the development of new markets and new approaches to the marketing of food. As part of this strategy my company developed the first stores at service stations, highway rest stations and railway shops, as well as the development of convenience stores and the at the time most attractively designed food courts.
Between 1994 and 2002 I have been an elected member of the town council of Kilchberg, the community where I had settled in 1963 with my wife Käti, and where we brought up our two sons. As town councillor I used the same approach as in my work, where my key concern was the adjustment of municipal services to the changing needs and demands of modern society. In this modernisation drive the municipality established the first daycare center for small children, a Youth Café and Youth Club, among many other initiatives directed at the young and old members of the community.
In 1990 I was elected as president of the Zürich Guild Society "Wollishofen", where my tasks included the publication of the Annual Guild Chronicle. It was an amazing coincidence that the Guild organized a trip to Eastern Canada just at the time when Marcel Zollinger first contacted me, and this allowed me and my wife Käti to have dinner with Marcel in Ottawa and to meet his family there.