Michael Kowalski (Rust Gebr. LLC) on the situation in the Hanover wholesale trade

"Sales in commercial kitchens could be maintained somewhat"

For traders at the wholesale markets, 2020 was undoubtedly a very exciting year due to corona. The first half of 2021 will also be dominated by the crisis. Many long-established wholesale companies are slowly but surely running out of steam. We spoke to Michael Kowalski, Managing Director of Rust Gebrüder LLC, one of the oldest companies on the Hanover Trading Estate.

Strictly speaking, the Rust company is not located at the wholesale vegetable market, but at the neighboring wholesale flower market. The wholesale market mainly serves regional specialist retailers and weekly market stockers. In contrast to the catering trade, this sales segment in particular has benefited from the virus wave, Kowalski knows. "In the weekly market trade, sales were significantly higher than usual, especially during the first lockdown. We, on the other hand, specialized mainly in large kitchens - such as hospitals, canteens, nursing homes and the like. But even in this segment, sales were quite stable and sales could be maintained."

Michael Kowalski (r) and son are together at the helm of Hannover Wholesale.

Normalization of sales
Now during the second lockdown, sales at the wholesale market have returned to some degree of normalcy, Kowalski observes. "Christmas business, for example, was satisfactory, but the loss of the local Christmas markets was obviously felt by us as well. On the other hand, the regional weekly markets are still taking place, and there is still a considerable increase in sales in this area. In addition, compared to other major cities - Berlin or Hamburg, for example - we live less from tourism. I could imagine that we have therefore suffered less loss of sales in general."

Also on the part of the procurement of goods, one does not see any major problems so far. "Because of the cold snap in Spain, there was a temporary shortage of goods. However, this has now returned to normal. In general, we have fewer exotics on offer because these items are now taken less due to the Gastro closure. Accordingly, our stock levels of exotics are significantly reduced."

The Rust company is firmly anchored in regional fresh food supply and has a company history of almost 100 years.

Generation change coming soon
Despite the current challenges, Michael Kowalski looks to the future with confidence. Gradual easing of the Corona requirements is expected from April. The traditional company is also well positioned for the long term. "Next year we will celebrate our 100th anniversary. My son is already involved in the business and will soon be the fifth generation to run the company. So we have found a good succession solution."

For more information:
Rust Gebrüder GmbH
Michael Kowalski
Market stand 41-43
Am Tönniesberg 16-18
30453 Hannover (Großmarkt)
Tel: 0511 / 46 44 40 u. 46 44 31
Fax: 0511/ 46 74 73
Mail: info@rust-gebrueder.de 

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