Obviously, the second wave of the Corona pandemic is affecting the sales of Berlin fruit traders as well. After all, the fresh produce center there is considered the most important location for (super)regional gastronomy. The management of Gemex Handels LLC is well aware that it is precisely this sales segment that has been brought to a virtual standstill by the renewed closure of bars and restaurants.
Currently, the Berlin-based wholesaler is smack in the middle of the classic import season. Every day, tons of fruit and vegetables from the most important supply countries like Italy, Spain and the Netherlands are handled at the company site. "In the fruit sector, the classic winter fruits - such as persimmons and clementines from Spain - are well received by customers at this time. However, sales are rather slow," says Managing Director Rasim Shateri when asked.
Gemex Handels in the pre-Corona era: Lots of activity at the pickup location.
The stricter Corona requirements have had a serious impact on the company's sales - similar to many of its colleagues at the wholesale store. Shateri: "Within a very short period of time, we have dropped to around 50 percent of normal sales levels. But we hope that sales will increase a little in the traditionally strong sales month of December."
The wholesale market stand at the Frischezentrum Berlin.
The company has always been the leading supplier of Italian rocket on the Berlin grounds. Throughout the year, locally cultivated fresh goods are delivered twice a week. But this classic staple of gastronomy is also selling less due to to the current situation. "Before the Corona crisis, we received 20 pallets per week. Currently there are only 3-4 pallets per delivery, which is less than half of the normal demand."
Right: Fresh rocket from Italy at the incoming goods aisle. Despite the slow marketing situation, prices are at the same level as last year.
But there is still hope, as - despite dropping sales in the fruit and vegetable sector - other articles are selling considerably better. "We now sell a lot of packaging and hygiene articles - such as wire mesh boxes and masks. But this is not enough to compensate for the losses in other areas. If the current situation were to continue for another four to five months, it would also be challenging for us to keep our business afloat."