G.Schӧnhage & Zn. are trying to keep it going with Dutch grapes until Christmas. It, however, remains to be seen whether this Dutch company will succeed in this. “We are one of the few wholesalers who still trade this product," says Jos Schӧnhage of the wholesaler with the same name.
"It is becoming more and more difficult to find. Cultivators are getting older and fall away because they have no successors", he says. Dutch grapes are one of this company's specialties. This means that many specialty stores buyers visit this wholesaler. They can be found at the Food Centrum Amsterdam.
G.Schӧnhage & Zn. is, and will remain, a real family business: Gerard, Bart, Theo, and Jos (René is away on holiday)
Besides Dutch grapes, Schӧnhage also specializes in Monna Lisa clementines. This fruit is a quality product found at the start of the citrus season. It is soon time for navels again too. "This is a real luxury product. For this product, we have been collaborating with Hispalco for a number of years now. Last summer we also offered wild peaches", continues Jos.
It is getting harder and harder to get hold of Dutch grapes, says Jos
“Things keep going because we specialize. The luxury greengrocers can distinguish themselves well from the supermarkets. That market has always done well. It is not about the price; it is about the quality", Jos explains. This wholesalers' products fit in well here. "We are well known for our premier, high quality, nice-looking items. Our clients are specialty stores based in, for example, Amsterdam, ’t Gooi, Abcoude, Haarlem, and Haarlemmermeer.
"Half of them still come here to trade. So, we are able to keep up to date with their wishes. With other clients, we have built up long relationships and trust. They know we can deliver on what they order. Besides the specialties, we also have other products in our assortment. For many clients, we are, therefore, a one-stop-shop”, Jos goes on to say.
Monna Lisa clementines from Hispalco
The Schӧnhage family business is as old as the wholesalers market itself. “They just cannot get rid of us," jokes Jos. Grandpa Gerrit was the founder, followed by three sons. One of these is Jos' father, who at 81, still helps out at the company now and then. "My father has been active in the vegetable sector for 67 years now. From the age of 14, he came to help out every Friday and Saturday morning", says Jos.
Jos says his Dod told him, "The first time you are reluctant to drive to the market halls, you must stop immediately." Jos has never experienced this. Besides Jos, his brother, Gerard, and his cousin, Theo, also work at the business. The next generation, Bart and René, have also since become involved. They are all descendant from the male line - all Schӧnhages.
Jos shows the color difference between flown-in and regular pineapples
There is confidence in the future of the wholesale trade. On the other hand, however, there are concerns about the redevelopment of the Food Centrum. “We have been busy with this issue for so long already," he explains.
"The City Council wants to build houses here and would like nothing better than to set the bulldozers to work. We want it to be made possible to continue trading here. This has been going on for more than ten years now. That makes it increasingly difficult to remain positive", concludes Jos.
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For more information
G.Schӧnhage & Zn.
14 Jan van Galenstraat
1051 KM Amsterdam
Tel.: +31 (0) 206 822 674