company history

committed to trust

1892 The beginning of the
Family saga

The Friedrich August Bjar Bautzen company

The company BJAR was founded in 1892 by August Bjar (Sorbian for „Bear“).The usual combination of joinery and furniture trade at that time brought financial success thanks to diligence and foresight, which made the acquisition of real estate for 30,000 Goldmark possible.

Das ehemals alte Bauernhaus wurde zu einem damals modernen Wohn- und Geschäftshaus umgebaut.

The former old farmhouse was converted into a then-modern residential and commercial building. Martha Bjar, the daughter of August and his wife Alma, has married the Dresden businessman Rudolf Schmieder, who ran a textile company in Dresden. After the First World War, Rudolf handed over the textile company, which produced straw hats, to his brother Albert. Rudolf converted the business of his parents-in-law into a pure trading company. He expanded the furniture trade, adding a furniture wholesale and a marquee set rental to the business. The „Golden 20s“ also brought the brothers Albert and Rudolf solid economic success.

When straw hats went out of fashion, Albert and Rudolph converted the textile company into a residential real estate business. Until the destruction of Dresden, they could live off that business very well. Rudolf expanded the furniture trade and had a factory in Blumenau. The Second World War has also left its mark in Bautzen and the house in Bahnhofstraße was partially destroyed.

Aus der Ehe ging der gemeinsame Sohn Horst hervorIn the marriage, the couple had their son Horst. Actually, he wanted to become a missionary in the brotherhood in Herrnhut. The war and his recruitment to the Wehrmacht put an end to these plans, and he took over the furniture business after the early death of his father.

The furniture shop 1945

Das Möbelgeschäft und Wohnhaus 1945

Horst Schmieder had the obligation to look after his mother, run the furniture business, and bring both of them unharmed through the Russian occupation. The death of his mother and various phases of expropriation by the communist system of the GDR posed great challenges for the new owner of the BJAR company. Thanks to a semi-public form of trade, the business could be kept as a company through the communist period. Together with his wife Christa and eight employees, Horst Bjar managed for his company to survive these times. Due to the given market situation, they shifted the company’s focus on kitchen furniture, which meant a good starting position for the future.

In the marriage with his wife Christa, a son Ingo was born, who has entered the furniture trade following the tradition. The peaceful revolution of 1989 brought new opportunities – for a 97-year-old company too. By joining the trade association MHK Germany, the first kitchen studio with brands such as ALNO, AEG, and Siemens, was opened in the GDR even before the monetary union. Changing the company structure to a GmbH (limited liability company) has become possible due to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Due to its unique position at that time, it was possible to generate good sales according to the company’s size. The close cooperation with MHK Germany, with branches in Görlitz and Prague, brought further positive synergy effects. With these earnings, real estate could be acquired and then managed by the company BJAR. After the death of the owner Horst Schmieder, his son Ingo – the 4th generation of the family business – took over the sole management in 2000.

Thus, the company was given a new direction and shifted its focus to the acquisition and renovation of real estate, companies, and properties. Due to the changed market situation, the „kitchen trade“ company branch was closed, and its premises were converted into a modern health center.

The company tapped into a profitable area by acquiring large forestry areas in Germany. Thanks to the positive development of timber prices, two timber trading companies were acquired, restructured and sold. The import of timber from Eastern Europe made it possible to sell larger quantities in the EU. Following the liquidation and sale of the forestry business in 2015, a residential complex in Dresden was acquired and developed in 2016, which was sold to Union Investment in 2019.

At the same time, a new investment was made in Switzerland and an AG was founded to transfer the companies into a holding structure. 2020 saw the completion of a single-family house located near Dresden. In the same year, an apartment building with very high-quality apartments for rent was completed in Visp. In 2022, a hotel in Ausserberg/Wallis that was no longer in operation was purchased and converted into 11 rental apartments.

In 2019, Max Schmieder, the son of the current managing director, joined the management team after successfully completing his business studies in Munich and Moscow.

In March 2024, BJAR can look back on 132 years of company history. Two world wars and four completely opposing systems have repeatedly presented the company with challenges, but have also opened up great new opportunities. We hope that politicians will see sense and do everything in their power to avoid another war.

Ingo Schmieder / Management Board