In Frankfurt, from stocks to sausages

Caitlan Reeg May 10, 2011

In Frankfurt, from stocks to sausages

Caitlan Reeg May 10, 2011

Steve Chiotakis: This week we also got word about Germany’s trade surplus, which surged in March fueled by record exports for the month. The German government said exports and imports were at their highest levels since 1950. That’s helping a recovering economy that’s expected to grow almost 3 percent this year. Quite a turnaround from the days of the financial crisis, when the economy was tanking, and people were losing their jobs.

One German man who was laid off during the recession decided to trade-in his stock broker cap for a chef’s hat. From Frankfurt, Caitlan Carroll reports.

Caitlan Carroll: Thomas Brausse lost his job as a stock broker during the height of the financial crisis. He decided to take a risk and invest $80,000 opening a lunch stand.

Now Brausse serves bankers and construction workers sausages named after the major indices — like the Dax, the Nikkei and the barbeque-flavored Dow Jones. It’s a dream he’s had for a while.

Thomas Brausse: Because we are just 250 meters away from my old office, and I saw the need of having a snack point like that offering typical German food.

He named it the Frankfurt Sausage Exchange. It’s fitting for a lunch counter that sits in the shadow of one of Frankfurt’s tallest banking buildings, where Brausse used to work as a trader.

Brausse: The business I would call the delivery against payment business so I delivered the shares and get the payment in and that’s maybe the only thing which is comparable to the new job. Because I delivered the french fries and the sausage and I get the money in, but it’s more real.

Brausse says it’s tough-going, but he doesn’t regret his decision, especially when he sees the stress on the faces of his former colleagues in the financial world.

Brausse: The pressure to the firms, to the owner of the firms, to the employees working for them is still the same and so I don’t see that the very good times are back.

Thomas Huebner takes a break from his high-pressured portfolio management job. He’s a big fan of the currywurst here — that’s combination of sausage, ketchup and spices.

Thomas Huebner: I think it’s one of the best in Frankfurt.

He says Thomas Brausse’s decision to go from stocks to sausages makes a lot of hungry bankers happy.

Huebner: Yeah from this point of view, I am one of the winners of the financial crisis.

And if Brausse’s business continues to grow, then so is he.

In Frankfurt, I’m Caitlan Carroll for Marketplace.

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