At 73, he is by far the oldest in the cooling centre in Essen, Germany. Wilfried Schenk, owner of the wholesale Fruit and Vegetables Frischepartner says he still enjoys his job. The experienced businessman has had a career in the food product sector for sixty years now and has had to adapt to recent developments. "The product pallets are constantly expanded and adapted."
Whoever goes to the storage of the wholesale will rarely find Wilfried Schenk there alone. Most of the time, he is there with his wife, who also takes care of the production of fruit salads, which is one of the company's specialties. "We get up together every moring," says Schenk. He is constantly going from the storage to the nearby location across the street where his fruit products are being sold. "Among my clients are retailers and weekly market traders from Münsterland all the way to Bergisches land."
Owner Wilfried Schenk and a box of white Luxus-grapes
The food product sector has completely changes according to Schenk, who noticed the changes himself during the past years. "In retail, the large chains such as Aldi, Rewe, Edeka and Lidl dominate. The To-Go-concept is also becoming more popular at the moment." For his main customers, the weekly market traders, much has changed as well. "The weekly markets are becoming experience markets and open at 11 o'clock. This has consequences for me as a wholesaler as well. It is all about compromises."
These developments have also led to Schenk having to look at markets outside of Germany. That is why he also imports tropical fruits from overseas countries such as South Africa and America. "What is exotic? Kiwi was once exotic, but is now considered a normal fruit." Schenck also imports much from neighbouring country the Netherlands. "The Dutch are like artists when it comes to fruit and vegetables," he tells a Dutch FreshPlaza-reporter.
Wilfried Schenk and his colleague Peter Gerritsen and their varied assortment
With a total capacity of five cooling and climate rooms, five vehicles and twelve employees, Schenk runs a successful company on which customers can rely. "We can supply our customers around the clock. This means night and day. "Despite long working days, he has no plans to retire. "I don't want to trouble myself, but I still enjoy it every day."
"On top of that, we don't have any successors yet. My children have chosen different paths," he says with a smile. How long the Fruit and Vegetable Frischepartner will remain in business is therefore unclear. "There is no long-term plan. I will go on, as long as God lets me work."
The oldest vehicle of the company is still in use
More information: Obst und Gemüse Frischepartner GmbH
Inh. Fam. Schenk
Tel.: +49 201 847 040