HOYA, Germany – The German wholesaler Hartje is expanding into the Dutch market and Holland is not the only country that Hartje Germany sees scope in. Austria and Belgium are also looked over. But the target is the border area first – the rest is for the future – there’s no rush.
Rumours had been going round for a while: Germany’s biggest wholesaler was planning on entering the Dutch market. Now, the starting signal has been given: but very softly indeed. Hartje maybe be big in Germany, but that is no reason to be bold. “The customers want their good on time, that is our goal, not to boast about who we are or what we have achieved”, says Hermann Hartje, general director. He explains that they started 110 years ago, in the town of Hoya, northern Germany. They slowly expanded all over Germany, and are now capable of delivering within 24 hours, no matter where. The system is deceivingly simple; every day, their own trucks drive from the main office to one of their 15 sales offices/warehouses. From there, goods are distributed locally. Orders are mainly booked via telephone, and relayed online to Hoya. But the EOS online ordering system is gaining ground, and will also be translated for the Dutch market. Order before 15.30,and you’ll get a next day delivery. This works fine in Germany, so there is no reason not to expand the border: Holland, Austria and Belgium.
“If we can deliver a dealer in Munich, why should we have problems delivering in Holland?” says Hartje. “Geographically, any destination in Holland is closer than Munich”. The Dutch market will not be taken by storm – Hartje knows very well that you can’t just add a country. And since the Dutch market is better developed that the German, due to the extensive use of bikes, it will take time. A sales office on the Dutch side of the border has already been opened, and that border area will the first point of attention – actually, quite a few shops there already buy at Hartje. When Hartje will have a nationwide coverage, is unclear: “we are not in hurry, never been. We like to plan thoroughly, and go by the book, step by step.”