“We wanted to realize future-proof facilities for my sons”

Tholen – Demargro has moved into its brand new building in Ardooie in Belgium since 1 June. Due to corona, the construction of the building was somewhat delayed, but the exporter has now completely moved to the new location. “We are happy that we have finally moved completely. Now we can look ahead and we are ready for the future,” says Guy De Meyer from Demargro in the June edition of the trade magazine Primeur.

Future-proofing is the key word when choosing to build the fruit and vegetable exporter’s new premises. “We started more than 45 years ago in the building where we used to be,” Guy continues. “We started with around 1,000 m² in area, and over the years, through further construction, the building had grown to 4,000 m². Only in the long term did we grow our scope here as well, so it was decided to take action right away and start a completely new building with a total area of ​​12,000 m².”

Guy’s two eldest sons are now also active in the company, which means that the entrepreneur ultimately wants to leave the facilities to them to face the future. “My eldest son has been in the business for four years and my second son started with us last September, so the legacy is secured. Now they are equipped with what they need to be equipped with.”

A separate refrigerator for each product group
The warehouse, the loading and unloading berths and the packing stations have been in use at the new location since 1 March, but now the adjacent offices have also been put into use from 1 June. “To ensure that all transport runs smoothly, we have nine loading and unloading quays as opposed to the four we had before. In addition, there is a dispatch area of ​​4,500 m² and 17 refrigerators corresponding to 2,000 m². This allows us to store each individual product group that we process in a separate refrigerator. In this way, the products can remain separated from each other and stored at the optimal temperature. For strawberries, for example, we have two separate refrigerators and a waiting refrigerator when it is loaded, so that the cold chain never has to be interrupted.”

Sustainability was also taken into account in the design of the new building. For example, it is completely self-sufficient, thanks to the 1,000 solar panels on the roof. “These produce 137,000 kWh, with which we even have plenty of energy. In addition, the refrigerators are equipped with the latest techniques, which means that they are cooled in a sustainable way with CO2.”

However, the update of the packaging lines, which was actually planned, has been abandoned. “We have moved some of the packaging lines, but we are trying to get more and more done by the producers or the auctions themselves. Also here in West Flanders it is simply very difficult to find good workers, so we have decided to pack less ourselves. We have had a good and reliable team for many years, but it remains a huge challenge to find new people.”

“Belgian strawberries, one of the best on the market”
In terms of soft fruit, the company mainly focuses on exports to France, Spain, Scandinavia and indeed a large part of the rest of Europe. “We can sell our strawberries perfectly here. In terms of quality, Belgian strawberries are still one of the best on the market. We can also count on many years of experience from our employees, who are on site every day at the various auctions to select the very best lots and qualities. This ensures that we can compete well with strawberries from France or Spain due to our good quality and knowledge of our employees. In addition, our advantage is that, due to our size, we can meet any request from all types of customers, regardless whether they are retailers or wholesalers.”

For more information:
Guy De Meyer
Demargro
Tombrugstraat 11
8850 Ardooie
+32 (0)51 74 70 75
guy.de.meyer@demargro.be
www.demargro.be

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