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Thomas Dickes, Früchte Rosenbaum Ltd:

"Owner-operated retail stores are usually very open to good drop-off suppliers, and we are jumping into this gap in the market"

Früchte Rosenbaum Ltd began more than twenty years ago as a classic trader at the Cologne wholesale market, selling to specialist stores, self-pick-up customers, and weekly market traders. Subsequently, the Cologne-based company specialized in supplying food retailers. After moving to its current location in the Gewerbepark am Eifeltor almost three years ago, the company's wholesale division was reorganized. In an interview, buyer Thomas Dickes looks back on the genesis of the regional concept as well as the extensive remodeling at the existing site.

Conversion and partnership with biofruit Ltd.
Since 2019, the modern Am Eiffeltor site has been the central hub of the entire group of companies. In order to cope with the growing business activities of the wholesale company in the future, the handling and storage hall was rebuilt according to the most modern standards. In March of this year, the new premises were put into operation, Dickes says. "We now have about 6,800 m2 of total space, of which about 2,000 m2 is refrigerated space, which in turn corresponds to about 1,350 refrigerated pallet spaces. As a result, we are able to professionally, temporarily store more than 300 fruit and vegetable items at any given time, dispatching and delivering them as needed."

The central, non-refrigerated storage area.

Overall, the cold storage area is divided into three separate areas, Dickes continues. "We ourselves have two different temperature zones, namely 4℃ and 8℃. The third and last cold store is used by our partner, biofruit, which is why only organic fruits and vegetables are stored in this area. In addition, we now also have new office space for our team in purchasing and sales."

The wholesale division of the internationally active group of companies is dedicated exclusively to on-time delivery to regional food retail markets. Dickes: "Our customers only include stores at a maximum radius of 200 km from our location in Cologne. Our delivery area covers the whole of North Rhine-Westphalia as well as parts of Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, and Luxembourg. Among other things, our customers benefit from our expertise in warehousing and refrigerated logistics, our growing producer network and wide range of products, and our individual concept solutions."

View of the new office, which has recently become home to purchasing and sales.

Regional concept is well received beyond the supply chain
One of the most important focuses of the Cologne-based fruit trading company is its holistic regional concept, 'Rosenbaum Regional,' which was launched in the spring of 2021. Under this moniker, retail stores in the regional delivery area are provided exclusively with ultra-fresh fruit and vegetable products from selected regional growers within a 65-km radius.

"The basic idea behind this concept was to create short and transparent supply chains, offering the buyer (and ultimately the consumer) a varied and seasonal assortment of the best quality. At the same time, it is also a matter close to our hearts to support regional farmers, especially in these tough times, and to guarantee stable volume purchases and fair prices for them," explains Dickes.

The new warehouse

Taking stock some year and a half after the brand launch, Dickes says the experiences so far have been particularly gratifying. "Our guiding principle is not to waste regionality. That means, on the one hand, the producer gets a fair price for his products, as well as sales security. On the other hand, the goods will reach the markets ultra-fresh due to extremely short transport routes. This all-round service is also rewarded by the customer, which is why there are no price discounts. Also, owner-operated retail stores are usually very open to good drop-off suppliers, and we are jumping into this gap in the market. Our raison d'être is that our structures enable us to react quickly and agilely to current developments."

The Huckelmanns (l) and strawberry producer Heiner Rothkopf are 'Rosenbaum Regional' producers from the very beginning.

For more information:
Thomas Dickes
Früchte Rosenbaum GmbH
Am Eifeltor 16
D-50997 Köln
Tel.: +49-221-988 888 70
Fax.: +49-221-988 888 99  

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