"Willem Dijk Junior: "German customers want large size products"

Considerable growth in Willem Dijk AGF's export activities

In the past Willem Dijk AGF was mainly a domestic wholesaler, but in recent years they have considerably expanded their export activities. Now they have four employees in the commercial department that work full time on the export process, "The Netherlands remains our most important market, but it is a saturated market. In order to serve new players you have to keep growing; another option is to develop new initiatives, "We used to export to Spain; we did this for seven years, but we eventually stopped because of payment issues and their mentality. With the move over to Enschede (a Dutch city on the border with Germany) and we had the Dutch market in sight. But if we turned around we also had a market with great potential: Germany," explains Willem Dijk junior. 

Team Willem Dijk AGF

Junior triggered the start of export activities, "Due to our location on the border we always had German customers, but Germany had never been a market we focused on. In 2005 I finished setting up my department with an internship at the company to optimize logistics. At the request of my internship supervisor, we also included a business plan. Initially my father was not enthusiastic about beginning in an area we did not know much about. But we took a gamble and were given three months to see what would happen. A seller was enthusiastic about focusing on the German market and after three months we had our trucks on the German market, and we have only grown since then."

Apples from South Tyrol, Italy

"Many customers found us through word-of-mouth. It didn't hurt that the former exporter, DeWe in Oldenzaal, The Netherlands went bankrupt, this created a greater demand for our products. We serve the same types of companies that we serve here in the Netherlands, and go from Bremen to Oldenburg, to Hanover and Düsseldorf," says Willem. "We have a policy that our drivers have to be back the same day and not spend the night elsewhere. However, demand is growing beyond this region, so we are running tests with outsourced transport."

Large sizes
Willem says that demand from Germany differs from demand from the Dutch customers, "German customers want large sizes: large cabbage, big potatoes, big oranges and top fruit, these are popular in Germany. Pickles are also popular in Germany, and we are one of the biggest pickle players in the Netherlands. In addition, we offer a wide range of German potatoes; such as, Bellarosa, Maritiema and Allianz. We distinguish ourselves by staying active, listening to our customers and always focusing on quality. Our customers appreciate that we do those things. We ensure continuity in our products and their quality through extensive involvement with various growers and with many of our own brands."

Elefant citrus is one of Willem Dijk AGF's own brands

In addition to the German market, Willem Dijk AGF has also been active in Ireland for a few years now, "In Berlin we met someone from the Irish market. What began as a trial shipment, turned into weekly export, via external transport, to Ireland and Great Britain. Two weeks ago Han Daniels, our seller, and I visited our Irish customers. It is a relatively new market for us, but we are trying to specialize more in this market, as long as time allows. We are also exporting more and more to the Belgian market. Our web-shop is just like the site, available in Dutch, English, German and Spanish. You have to keep looking ahead. Standing still means going backwards," says Willem laughing.

For more information:
Willem Dijk AGF
Het Wolbert 1-11
7547 RA Enschede
T: 053 486 47 52
M: 06 1515 01 76
E: willemjr@willemdijk.nl
W: www.willemdijk.nl

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