The Essen-based family business Josef Hesse Ltd. looks back on some eventful years. A few years ago, the company moved into the former VanWylick building at the local fresh food center. But this was followed by the Corona pandemic and a complete restructuring of the company. Today, the company operates a modern slicing operation, and most of the goods are delivered throughout NRW using its own vehicles, says Hubert Hengesbach, who runs the company together with his son Niklas.
A look at the tomato range.
The Essen-based company is also now gradually seeing the first signs of spring, such as spring onions, wild garlic, rhubarb, and asparagus, says Hubert Hengesbach, whose clientele includes food retailers, restaurateurs, and weekly market and specialist retailers. "The weekly markets gained more attention during Corona and are, strictly speaking, the origin of everything. Without the weekly markets, certain premium items, such as Looye tomatoes, would not have existed on the scale they do today."
In the current hall, Josef Hesse Ltd. occupies a total of 3,500m2, which is about triple the size of the old location. Additionally, one has a total of six loading ramps and several separate cold storage rooms so that an uninterrupted cold chain can be guaranteed.
Product diversity is a hallmark of the company from Hesse.
The capacity expansion enables the company to further expand its product range. "What just sets us apart is that we can, for example, supply several vendors from the same weekly market with different goods. Our guiding principle is to fulfill everyone's wishes. In short, there isn't a single product category these days where we don't carry a wide assortment and offer the service to go with it."
Left: Potato warehouse with green light. Right: A view of the vegetable warehouse.
Josef Hesse also has to adapt to the circumstances. However, the fruit wholesaler continues, "we noticed that weekly markets are losing relevance due to a lack of new blood. The number of restaurateurs and public facilities, on the other hand, is gradually increasing. In turn, we have to respond to this trend. Therefore we are not only expanding our convenience range but also tend to offer more additional items such as dairy and deli items."
Tropea onions and rhubarb.
Hubert Hengesbach says there will continue to be a lot of change in the near future. "We will continue to expand our range of products and continually add new products to the portfolio. We also have to prepare ourselves for the fact that the remaining weekly markets will increasingly develop into experience markets, which in turn will be accompanied by completely different demands." Otherwise, the dedicated fruit wholesaler believes it is well-equipped for the future. "We have a modern, multifunctional location at our disposal, and the succession has also already been arranged. Only the ongoing staff shortage could become a concern in the future. We're still in a good position, but we could also use a handful of new employees."
Learn more about the Frischezentrum Essen? Click here to access the full photo gallery regarding our March 2023 wholesale market visit.
For more information:
Hubert & Niklas Hengesbach
Josef Hesse GmbH
Tel.: 0201 310 29 - 0
Fax: 0201 310 29 - 25