Dortmund specialist dealer says goodbye to the wholesale market

Germany: 'Until 10-15 years ago it was still fun'

Specialized wholesalers with a strong, focused range are barely available today. The Dortmund wholesale market is no exception in this sense and is also characterized by full-range providers and broad-based service providers. The product range of Matthias Hartmann GmbH has also been significantly expanded over the years and today contains the whole range of both domestic and imported fruits and vegetables. After a long career of about 35 years, the retailer will soon say goodbye to the wholesale market. Not least because the market situation in wholesale is nowhere near as great as it once was. “The next 6-7 years will be okay, but after that it will be difficult to survive.”

Matthias Hartmann in his warehouse on the Dortmund wholesale market

The owner proudly displays the warehouse of his wholesale firm, where one can find the usual fruits like grapes and oranges as well as unique, even upscale products like smoked garlic. One would not expect it was the last week that this retailer is on the job. With much enthusiasm he tells about the transformation that his company has undergone. “In the beginning we mainly distributed German vegetables such as leek and savoy cabbage. Then we gradually started with foreign fruits like grapes, oranges and apples.” He points to a pallet of grapes: “Right now, we have blue seedless grapes all year round like the Thomson, Prime and Starlight. These arrive via Rotterdam and are packed for us before the goods arrive here.”

The varied range of the wholesale business includes many exotic and tropical fruits

The wholesaler also has a wide range of citrus fruits, as well as organic lemons and the popular Monna Lisa brand. As an example of his exotics program, he shows us his honeydew melons, which are in high demand, especially among foreigners. It is no coincidence that the retailer is now able to supply a mixed clientele of weekly marketers, delis, and in some cases regional branches of the leading chains. “When I joined the company, there were still a few specialists. Until 10-15 years ago it was still fun because we were able to sell large quantities. Due to the dominance of the big chains, it has become more difficult every year.”

A delivery vehicle of the wholesale company

At the age of 58, his early working hours became physically difficult, Hartmann says. “I live near Cologne and therefore have to leave home at 1.00 every day, six days a week. That is one aspect I will not miss. "Since he has no successor from within his own family, management is temporarily taken over by two employees. After 96 years and three generations, for the first time no Hartmann will be at the wheel. The pensioner-to-be does not mind. “Succession is at least secured and that is what’s most important.”

For more information:
Matthias Hartmann GmbH
Inh. Matthias Hartmann
Heiliger Weg 60, 44135 Dortmund
Telephone: +49 (0) 231 557140-0
Telefax: +49 (0) 231 557140-10

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