At the end of May 2019, Fresh2You moved into its new premises. This new building is on the Barendrecht trade center in the Netherlands. It comprises a 5,000m2 cooling area and 500m2 office space. This move was followed by a new branch at the Antwerp wholesale market in Belgium. That was in April 2020. "It happened quickly; by now, we employ over 30 people," says Corne Roks.
This Dutch company combines produce from its own farms and import line with that supplied by other growers. They make sales from both the office and the flourishing Cash & Carry. "Our vision is to further expand Fresh2You around two axes. Firstly, we offer a wide range of fruit and vegetable products. These are for wholesale stores, wholesale suppliers, and exporters."
"In contrast to other trade centers, there's hardly any cash & carry trade at Barendrecht anymore. We stepped into that gap in 2016, and it's worked out well. Clients can arrive as early as 5 a.m. That means they don't need any storage themselves. The Cash & Carry is where the promotions are presented. It has three cash & carry cooling cells. These are set at 12, 8, and 2°C," says Corne.
"Many wholesalers, market vendors, and store owners come to collect the goods themselves. But the Cash & Carry has a twofold function. Clients come to collect their goods, and it's a showroom. If clients want one or more full pallets, we walk through to the cells, together, and note the order."
Marlon Franken has 30 years of fruit and vegetable experience. He runs the Fresh2You Cash & Carry.
"Secondly, we're fully committed to selling produce from our farms in Morocco and Senegal. There, we grow green beans, French beans, spring onions, pointed bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and radishes. That's done according to the Van Oers family's philosophy and decades of expertise. This summer, we're also going to start growing our own crops in the Netherlands," continue's Corne.
Feel at home
When asked how the company grew so fast in such a short time, Roks answers, "It's thanks to the range of products we offer and the brands we carry. Apart from that, we want clients who come here to feel welcome. They get old-fashioned service and the feeling of being at home. Clients can help themselves to a cup of coffee and chat with the Fresh2You staff. They can expect competent, pleasant assistance. Then clients like returning."
"We have facilities for, say, international drivers too. They can take a shower and eat here. We now have several German clients who come here every week to find merchandise. They load this under the awning where it's dry. They then have a bite to eat and drive back. No customer is too small for us. We treat everyone the same. That's why the smaller customers feel so valued. We also sell a few brands and products that clients come for, especially to us," explains Corne.
The corona crisis, fortunately, hasn't affected the company much. "In Barendrecht, we serve very few hospitality clients. On the contrary, our clients have generally done very well. The citrus market, for example, hasn't been bad for us," says Rob Langenberg, who's responsible for Fresh2You's citrus and banana purchasing and sales.
"It was a little overwhelming in Antwerp. There, the lockdown was announced very soon after we opened. That's a true cash & carry location because Antwerp has quite a lot of hospitality establishments. Now, more and more clients find their way there. That site's long-term future looks bright."
"In 2020, we started exporting to Germany, Scandinavia, and the United Kingdom. That's, however, still very much in its infancy. We don't yet have a total package," says Rob. "But we do offer 80-85% of the total fruit and vegetable assortment. Our goal in 2021 is to expand our range even further. Then we can be a total supplier to our clients."
"Bananas and citrus are our top import products. With citrus, we work with the top Famisa brand, among others. In June, we'll also start selling home-grown Senegalese mangos. And last year, we began a partnership with the Dutch strawberry grower HG Eerenburg. We expect the first strawberries in March," Rob concludes.