History of Hahebo

The Beginning

Hahebo BV was founded in 1982 by Pierre Hermans and Philip van Haeren. They met at the boarding school run the Fathers in Venray in the 1970s, but later lost touch. Years later, their paths crossed again. At this meeting, they discovered that they had a similar background and interests. Both come from enterprising families and had been interested in buying and selling goods from a very early age. In his younger years, Philip van Haeren had travelled to auctions all over the country and later became a certified auction holder. Pierre Hermans went to work for a bank and became proficient in finance. At the time of their reunion in the 1980s, they both had plans to set up a trading company. Coincidentally, they both had contacts in northern Germany and they decided to travel there together. On their return journey, they made plans to start their own company.

Foundation of Hahebo

November 1981, in an old mill in the village of Vortum-Mullem, they started a wholesale business in car materials, such as batteries, windscreens and windscreen wipers. On 5 March 1982, they set up their first official private limited company under the name Hahebo. Sales of car materials were slow, so soon after its foundation Hahebo also started trading in “used, miscellaneous and batch goods”. The very first consignments handled by the company consisted of a large batch of bulbs and a batch of second hand bicycles. Philip van Haeren: “Having a network and relations was very important in the early stages. It was a great advantage that Pierre had worked for the bank. He knew of any bankruptcies and that provided us with a lot of work.” Pierre Hermans: “Family and friends played a major role in the success of our company. They were always ready to help us. Our families showed a real pioneering spirit. Both my and Philip’s family have various companies of their own in the meat and livestock trade, among others. So we grew up in business.” Diverse tradeIn the 1980s, the economy suffered a downturn. Many companies went bankrupt, providing Hahebo with a great deal of business. The company worked with banks, administrators, lease and factor companies, gaining a reputation as a reliable partner which purchased all kinds of goods. Hahebo began to concentrate solely on trading in batch goods. There were competitors on the market, but Hahebo was prominent on account of its flexible approach and favourable pricing. In fact, Hahebo never rejected an offer of trade. Hermans: “We trade in everything and anything: from trailers filled with ice cream or meat to a pregnant dolphin, which later ended up in the Dolphinarium. We also handled a machine factory where 300 people produced heat exchangers, a big shipyard with huge cranes, various furniture businesses, an advanced light and sound installation from a failed prestigious discotheque project and a workship. Even the buying, dismantling and worldwide marketing of all the machines from one of the biggest turkey slaughterhouses in the Netherlands, the former Friki in Boxmeer which employed 900 people, was no problem. The only offer we didn’t accept was that of a Boeing 737. The sales market for such a specific product was too small even for us.”

Explosive growth

In after its foundation, the first employees were hired. These were mainly local farmers’ sons earning some extra money at Hahebo. From 1985, the company experienced an enormous growth and more personnel were structurally recruited. In that year, the first administrative assistant was also appointed. To store all the goods, a lot of space was required. Their 500 m² premises in Vortum-Mullem had become much too small. Hahebo had now rented all the available storage areas in the surroundings. In 1987, Hahebo was offered the opportunity to buy a 6000 m² plot of land at the Transport Centre in Beugen/Boxmeer. Here Philip van Haeren and Pierre Hermans built their own 3300 m² premises from which they could offer all their services under one roof. Van Haeren: “We built everything ourselves, from the foundations and the steel construction to the window frames. We finished everything on site with machines and materials from the inventory of a bankrupt contracting company.” Over a third of the building was for their own use. The remaining space was rented out in the initial years.

Property development

The 1990s, Hahebo continued to grow. The company not only earned greater name recognition, it was also given opportunities to buy the company premises as well as the inventory of bankrupt companies. From then on, the company increasingly invested in property. Land and business premises were purchased, renovated or developed. The first project of this kind was in July 1992 when the Centen family decided to shut their Milk and Cheese shop. Besides the shop and warehouse equipment, Hahebo also bought this characteristic shop in Boxmeer and successfully completed the rigorous renovation! They did the same in the centre of Boxmeer, where a former fitness studio and an audio business burnt down. As good neighbours, Pierre Hermans and Philip van Haeren went along to the adjacent hotel and subsequently bought out this family firm. This action shows that Hahebo has decisiveness, courage and vision.

Professionalisation

At the end of the 1990s, the company had become so big that it was in need of professionalisation. A great deal was invested in automation and the focus shifted. The enthusiastic trading business continued to be central, but new key words became efficiency, cost reduction and turnover speed. Of course, the business sense remained; that is the great strength of the company. All trade items were given barcodes. These showed exactly what the company had in stock, however deeply it was buried. The company was reorganised and the tasks reallocated. Hahebo is also presenting a more professional image on the internet, with the launch of several websites.

Office and warehouse furniture

Due to the fact that every company it buys has a number of desks, chairs, computers, cabinets, etc. Hahebo has always had a very wide range of second hand office and warehouse furniture. This has given Hahebo great name recognition in the region. In order to serve all its customers and friends, in 2005 Hahebo also started to offer new office and warehouse furniture.

Corporate takeover

As of January 1, 2010 Hahebo was taken over by Stephan Korderijnk, formerly general manager within the company. He, together with Karin Wouters and Bart Rijckaert, forms the management team. Karen plays the role of HR manager and Bart handles the financial administration. Philip van Haeren and Pierre Hermans stay connected to Hahebo, respectively as advisor and senior purchaser. Both are also engaged in real estate development projects. Currently the company has about 120 employees. Besides the management, administration and marketing, the company is divided into the purchasing, sales office and warehouse equipment, stocks trade, logistics and field sales staff.