Peter Rohner from Wellauer Tabac passes away. On June 18, the owner of Wellauer Tabac passed away suddenly at age 59. In a few days, Rohner lost a lot of weight and looked tired. His usual “it will all be fine” showed his optimism, but it wouldn’t be fine. Rohner passed away within days, despite medical assistance.
Right after Rohner was born, his parents Robert and Heidi opened an independent tobacconist shop in Rheineck, Switzerland. Growing up, Peter worked in the shop and proved to be a great asset. At age 19, he lounged the family business. But not before gaining working experience at a bank and the Brissago Cigar Factory.
Rohner turned out to be an innovator. He expanded the family business by adding cigarette vending machines to over 200 locations. He also introduces computer-assisted goods and financial accounting. That was a novelty and rather revolutionary for such a small company as his father’s business was at that time
Robert Rohner passes away when Peter was only 21. Young Peter threw himself at the business. The start was rocky and Rohner had many setbacks. But his commitment and persistence made him succeed. And thrive.
The business continuously expands and in 1987 Rohner acquired Wellauer & Co AG. That’s when the company moved from a predominant cigarette wholesaler to a more specialized product as pipes, pipe tobacco, and premium cigars. More retail outlets were opened as well.
In 2002, Wellauer & Co. AG moved to a bigger location above the retail outlet in Buchs. The company had grown from a one-man army to over 30 employees. Their well-being and, above all, their social security was always of great concern to him.
When it became more and more obvious that the premises in Buchs were no longer sufficient for the further growth of the company, another solution was sought and found. The former ‘Schrubi’ (a swiss nickname für the local srew factory – a respectable commercial building with correspondingly ideal premises), was acquired in Rheineck. With that, the circle closed and the family business came back to where it started.
Friends, family, employees, and Peter’s mother Heidi said goodbye at the Protestant Chuch in Rheineck on July 2nd. With his intrinsic values of social ideals toward all people, Peter Rohner took care of his mother Heidi since the death of his father 39 years ago – and in their time of need, also of his siblings.
His great knowledge, outstanding abilities, and strict determination in both human and professional terms were very impressive. The tobacco business was not only an activity for him but a true vocation. With human warmth, comprehensive expertise, discipline, conscious determination, and, if necessary, a good pinch of stubbornness, he and his team led the business through all weathers to the great success of today. Fredi Kellenberger, one of his closest friends, once said: “Out of 100 people who intended to run this business, at most 3 would have managed to survive. Of these three, Peter Rohner is the one who not only managed to survive, but to succeed!”
Peter Rohner embodied the caring principles and the necessary entrepreneurial flair of a true patron, a patron for the people, and a shrewd patron for business, a category of entrepreneurs that is, unfortunately, becoming increasingly rare nowadays. Peter Rohner radiated wise joie de vivre, joy in intensive business life, joy in his circle of friends, joy in being at home, joy in caring, joy in well-being, and last but not least, joy in beautiful things, music, beautiful living, and comfortable travel.
Rohner leaves a big gap, not only with his friends, family, and for Wellauer. But in the tobacco industry in general, and Switzerland in particular. Ministry of Cigars wishes all Rohner’s friends and family the best in this hard time.