A FAMILY VENTURE SPANNING 4 GENERATIONS OF ENTREPRENEURs
- The story of BROUSSE traces its origins back to Bordeaux nearly 90 years ago. In 1934, on the shores of the Garonne River, Georges Brousse, then running the family business R. BROUSSE ET FILS established in Bordeaux in 1824 and having recently specialized in trading fresh fruit and vegetables, decided to dispatch his younger brother Jacques to Marseille. The aim was to establish a commercial branch of the company in the city.
- The limited profits generated by the Marseille branch prompted Georges to summon his brother back to Bordeaux. However, Jacques remained convinced of the immense opportunities within the Mediterranean region and chose to establish his independent enterprise in Marseille. Embarking on a fresh beginning, he initiated a banana ripening center, capitalizing on the popularity of this exotic fruit during that era. Subsequently, the outbreak of war led the family to relocate to Masseret in Corrèze for a period of time.
- On June 12, 1946, Jacques Brousse injected fresh energy into his enterprise by establishing SARL JACQUES BROUSSE ET GASTON NOUHAUD in collaboration with a trader hailing from the Limousin region. Their joint objective was to import and distribute fruits and produce. This pivotal moment marked the true inception of the BROUSSE VERGEZ journey.
(from left to right : Jacques Brousse - Daniel Vergez)
- In 1953, Gaston Nouhaud sold his shares to Jacques, who subsequently invited Daniel Vergez to become his partner. On 20 November 1953, S.A. J. BROUSSE, D. VERGEZ & CIE was established, specializing in early produce trading. This event solidified a meaningful friendship and enduring bond that would persist throughout their lifetime.
- On March 31, 1970, Jacques Brousse retired, handing the reins over to his son André Brousse, who had joined the firm in 1951 to develop partnerships with North African planters (citrus from Algeria and dates from Tunisia).
- In 1979, André's second son Stephan became part of the family enterprise, collaborating with his friend Bernard Ordines to establish a new business division. This marked the inception of the Bakery & Pastry Canned Fruits Department and the birth of the associated brand: BROVER.
- In 1988, Stéphan Brousse was named Deputy MD of the company when it changed its name to BROUSSE VERGEZ S.A.
- On 23 January 1989, Stéphan became CEO of BROUSSE VERGEZ. His brother Franck Brousse joined the BROVER Department, which he would run for 16 years, from 1989 to 2005.
- In 2001, BROUSSE VERGEZ left the Joliette District (13002) and established its operations in new facilities, comprising purpose-built structures and a warehouse, situated in Saint Henri (13016), north of Marseille. These premises currently function as the company's headquarters.
- In 2004, the Dried Fruits Department was established, leading to a gradual shift away from dealing with fresh fruits and vegetables. Simultaneously, the company achieved its inaugural AFAQ ISO 9001 certification, a recognition of the quality-focused approach initiated by Bénédicte Lafon, Stephan's sister, who spearheads the department.
(Photo credit NBDC)
- Simultaneously, Stephan became engaged with employers' associations, initially within the dried fruits sector and subsequently in cross-disciplinary organizations. As an acknowledgment of his unwavering commitment to championing entrepreneurial principles and fostering regional growth, he was elected President of the UPE 13 in 2005 followed by his appointment as President of MEDEF PACA in 2010. Moreover, he assumed the role of Special Advisor to the President of MEDEF at the national level, specifically focusing on matters related to microbusinesses and SMEs.
- In December 2011, BROUSSE VERGEZ built a workshop in Marseille dedicated to the design and production of dried fruit gift boxes, under the name BV Création.
(from left to right : Jérémy - Fabien Brousse)
- In 2012, Fabien Brousse, Stephan's youngest son, assumed leadership of the BROVER Department. He had been instrumental in cultivating the Export & Industry segment since 2004. By the close of that year, he was joined by his elder brother Jérémy Brousse. Having spent a decade in media advertising, Jérémy decided to contribute his expertise to the family enterprise.
- In January 2013, the company made an investment in leasing an additional fully equipped warehouse to accomodate BROVER products. This facility spans over 3,000 m² and is situated in the Arnavants District (13014).
- In May 2014, BROUSSE VERGEZ acquired the canned foods and dried fruits business company C.I.N.R.J, located in the Ile-de-France region, solidifying its standing as a specialist in the trade of canned fruits and vegetables. This marked the initial step into external expansion.
- In August 2014, BROUSSE VERGEZ took over Axe Fruit, a Nantes-based company specialized in dried fruits catering to food manufacturers, with a particular focus on superfruits such as cranberries, goji berries, and chia seeds.
- In January 2015, the Group established a subsidiary in Germany in partnership with German associates, Eva and Patrick Stoltzenberg. This subsidiary, named Brousse GmbH, is dedicated to serving the German retail market for dried fruits.
- In April 2016, BROUSSE VERGEZ successfully acquired Ambro Foods, a company headquartered in Courtenay (38), which primarily focuses on distributing candied fruit decorations and inclusions across France. These goods are produced by renowned Italian manufacturer Ambrosio.
- In June 2016, the head office was renovated and enlarged with the addition of a new floor of 270 m² on the original building.
- In April 2017, BROUSSE VERGEZ completed the acquisition of Arguydal, a company located in Aubagne (13). Arguydal specializes in the creation and distribution of small porcelain figurines, as well as related accessories and marketing materials associated with the Epiphany celebration (such as kings' paper crowns).
(from left to right : Stéphan - Fabien - Jérémy Brousse) / Photo credit La Provence J.-L.C.
- In July 2018, Fabien BROUSSE became the new CEO of BROUSSE VERGEZ Group, associated with Jérémy and Stéphan as Deputy General Managers.
- In October 2018, the company Euro Partenaires, based in La Teste-de-Buch (33), became part of the Group. This integration bolstered the Group's portfolio in terms of canned fruits and vegetables, catering specifically to professionals in the foodservice and retail sectors.
- In December 2018, BROUSSE VERGEZ acquired one of its export clients, “The Peanut Company” based in Amsterdam. This strategic move enabled the company to establish a foothold in the distribution of Mediterranean dried fruits within the Netherlands and Belgium.
- In July 2019, BROUSSE VERGEZ, Axe Fruit and Ambro Foods obtained IFS Broker (International Featured Standards) certification.
- Between October and December 2019, BROVER celebrated its 40th anniversary with a special operation for bakers: "The Winning Birthday".
- In March 2020, BROUSSE VERGEZ continued its expansion through the acquisition of Delieuze, a company located in Sète (34) and specialized in the distribution of olives.
- In June 2020, Euro Partenaires obtained IFS Broker certification.
- In November 2020, "The Peanut Company" became"Brousse Holland".
- In June 2022, The group expanded its scope of activities by acquiring Sud Value, a real estate management agency in Marseille.
- In October 2022, after 8 years of sustained external growth, groupe BROUSSE VERGEZ becomes Groupe Brousse and unveils its new coroporate identity and platform, along with its new logo.
To be continued...
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