biotiv GmbH

"We are witnessing a trend towards Asian products"

"Biotiv company, Fritz speaking." This is how the 50-year-old answers the phone, that rings every minute. Despite the early morning hours and the cool temperatures, the marketer has a joke for every customer. This Munich citizen together with his wife Grit Busch manages biotiv GmbH, a wholesaler for fruit, tropical fruits, vegetables, potatoes and onions. Fritz Kugler is responsible for purchasing and sales, his wife is the managing director.

How did you come to the wholesale market in Sendling?
Fritz Kugler: My father already operated this stand. I was often here as a child, especially during school holidays. The roots of the company date back to 1882. At that time there were no hypermarkets. The biotiv company has existed for 10 years now. This is already my 35th or 36th year on the wholesale market. I have seen many of the developments in this wholesale market, and in the city of Munich.

What brings you every morning, at 2 o'clock, even in winter, to the wholesale market?
Kugler: This place has a character of its very own. We mostly deal with the same people and yet the dealings with customers and employees vary from day to day. There is always humor in our work. All in all, it's a very special way of working together that I enjoy, here, on the wholesale market.

Who do you deal with here on a daily basis and how do you work together?
Kugler: Firstly, with my nine employees. And then of course with our customers. We have small customers here who take a sack of potatoes, and big customers who almost buy the entire range. The goods go to catering, retail, kiosks, wholesalers, resellers from Munich and the surrounding areas. We also send a small portion of the goods to the domestic market, but it is getting smaller and smaller. We can not compete with direct suppliers such as Verona.

What kind of goods can your customers buy from you?
Kugler: We basically trade everything from eggplants to lemons. We want to fulfil the customer's every wish in the fruit and vegetable sector. That will be very important in the future as well. A restaurateur, coming to us, we have to be able to offer everything from potatoes to pineapples, mushrooms and onions. Otherwise, we will lose this customer to other suppliers or catering services.

And is it always possible to fulfil the wishes of the customers?

Kugler: We've noticed the trend in Asian foods lately. We get inquiries, for example after durians or okra. We get these trends directly from the chefs. It is not always easy to get these special items. But we want to be able to offer the creative minds in the kitchen everything they need to keep coming up with new and unusual things.

How do you receive the orders?
Kugler: All channels are in use. Internet, SMS, WhatsApp, telephone, fax. Of course, there must be personal contact with customers. The customer must be able to fully rely on the company. He has to know all his ordered items are of the highest quality. Out of 30 fruit and vegetables he has ordered, it cannot be that 28 are outstanding, but 2 are not meeting the standards of the customers. We, marketers, have the opportunity to be economically successful here. But at the same time, there are enormous risks. And the conditions in the workplace are not to be underestimated: In winter it is often freezing cold, then there is the early hours and the stress. This also makes it difficult for us to find our successors. In order to work here, at the wholesale market, you have to be of hardy stock.

What needs to change on the wholesale market in Sendling in the future?
Kugler: The fact that the city is now looking for an investor for us traders means we are at a standstill again. And we have already stood still for the last eight or nine years. In my eyes, we marketers have to form a single front. Over the past twelve months, I have been very much involved in all this. But too many of my colleagues do not get involved and let others decide on their future. We marketers need to team up to ensure that we will be ale to work under better conditions, in a new building. If we pull together, we can achieve so much more. I hope my colleagues will start seeing it that way and that we will help shape the future of the wholesale market. So that the many family businesses and centuries of traditions do not die out.

Standortinitiative "Großmarkt in Sendling. Jetzt." is always looking for supporters: You can easily and quickly register by phone or via your desktop, declaring your support and speaking out for a rebuilt wholesale market hall.

Source: Grossmarkt Sendling

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