A true modern businessman looks after his clients and suppliers. That has been the motto of the family business ELELE, meaning "hand in hand", in Essen, Germany, since 2002. The company stands for great quality for a fair price. "We only accept good products."
During the interview with the owner Ercan Duruöz, questions were hardly necessary. The fruit and vegetables trader from Essen speaks the way he works: quickly, enthusiasticly, but with the utmost precision. At the moment, the company has 60 employees and owns 18 delivery vehicles. Above all, Mr Duruöz values close, personal contact. That is very important to him. "We need to be able to look customers in the eyes."
The front of the storage rooms
"Hand in hand" does not only apply to the inner structure of the company, but also to the relationships between customers, suppliers and the company ELELE, as Mr Duruöz stresses. "We have had suppliers for many years with whom we would like to stay. I don't look at prices, so that our customers can keep using our products till the end. Therefore, we guarantee that the quality of our products lasts 4 days."
Daily freshness is key to his business: "In summer, we get the products from farmers in the morning, so they can be eaten in the afternoon. The suppliers know therefore that they are not allowed to deliver anything below our quality standards. We don't accept discount offers, only good products. Because of this, our incoming goods inspection is extremely strict. We want to be a reliable customer, so that our customers will get the best quality for a fair price."
Mr Duruöz with a box of fresh lettuce
The company ELELE supplies retailers and hospitality businesses up to 62 miles away. In the German states Rhineland and Westphalia, the company is known for its diverse multicultural assortment. "We don't just value local suppliers. We import from producers over the entire world." Exotic fruits and seasonal specialities are part of the "standard assortment" which also includes over 30 different lettuce varieties.
For one and a half year, ELELE has been producing fruit and vegetables that are kitchen ready in order to meet the needs of customers. "From fresh fruit salads and special vegetable mixes to lettuce mixes, we prepare the products according to the needs of our customers." If you offer such a service, you must be available day and night. "Therefore, we work with day and night shifts for 365 days a year. We also distribute the tasks amongst each other. For example, I work at customer services and my brother deals with purchasing. and with my nephews, the next generation is already part of the company as well."