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Essen’s Obstbaron focuses on deliveries

Germany: “We do not want our own walk-in shop”

Almost five years ago, it was just some students with only one vehicle. Today, the Essen Obstbaron-company has grown into an all-round supplier of fruit. Apart from its headquarters in Essen, the service company currently has delivery centres in Neuss, Dortmund, Hamburg, Cologne and Munich. Their secret? Turning quick and reliable delivery into a day-to-day business.

"Retailers are packaging just whatever, and fruits like pears and bananas are suffering from this. Which is why we do not want our own shop," says Marc Vormann, operations manager at the Neuss site.

Fruit baskets have been the mainstay of the company since the beginning

Packages containing fruit are without question the main business of Obstbaron. The company also deals in a currently popular product called ‘logo fruit’. This is essentially fruit with text printed on it, which is very much in demand for special occasions. "For example, we supply fruit with dates and names for weddings. And recently we also had a customer who wanted printed walnuts." The most recent delivery centre, Cologne, is still being developed. Vormann and his colleagues are always looking for new ways to expand their business. "We want to turn our gemstone into a diamond."

Office fruit
The supplier of fresh fruit packages is aiming primarily at offices and company canteens, but also has dentists and sports clubs for its customers.

Vormann: "Modern companies are gradually more concerned with their employees' health and are providing healthy food in the office. Therefore our baskets can be filled with any fruit, on demand, both in terms of variety and weight. We have fruit baskets from 2 to 10 kilograms to choose from.”

Marc Vormann, Manager of the Neuss site in front of one of the delivery vehicles

Most of the products are bought directly at the regional wholesale markets. In addition to domestic goods, there are many imported fruits from overseas, especially in winter. "At the moment we have a lot of citrus fruits in the baskets, like clementines and oranges. But fruits like apples are also available; there is always room for change."

The prices of baskets and other gift packages are kept as constant as possible. "We are working with so-called unit prices that were established at a level that will simply allow us to make a good living. Bad harvest years, as we have witnessed with our domestic apples, are factored in as well."

Vormann points to another challenge for his company: shipments from overseas. "We once had a shipment of mouldy bananas. It was terrible because bananas are the fruit in Germany. And with overseas shipping nobody ever seems to know what has happened along the way.”

In order not to damage the fresh goods, the baskets are transported in special plastic boxes. These boxes are stacked on top of each other so that the trucks can be loaded as efficiently as possible. "At present, we are not yet able to deliver nationwide. Where we are not yet represented we will send our parcels by mail, in shipping boxes made of strong cardboard filled with padding so that the products can be transported without any damage," Vormann explained.

With four locations in the Ruhr area one might imagine that the company vehicles are regularly stuck in traffic. However, this is by no means true, Vormann said. "Sometimes we're ten minutes to half an hour late because of road works or something like that. Except for those situations, it’s not too bad. Deliveries are always done on Monday and Wednesday. "Delivering just before the weekend does not make sense, because on Fridays there is almost no one left in the office and not much will be eaten anyway."

For more information:
Obstbaron Essen GmbH 
Inh. Jens Schultz
Krablerstraße 161
45236 Essen
0201 / 9770 1721

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