Meet Hannes van Rooyen, Operations Director for Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts!
Hannes was part of Montagu’s humble beginnings back in 2001. A passionate businessman and his wife’s biggest fan, he now heads up all our nationwide operations from the heart of Montagu in the Klein Karoo.
Here is his story…
Before it all began…
Hannes is one of the “brains” behind the Montagu operation, and when we say “brains” we mean it. “I studied a B.Comm Mathematics at Stellenbosch University with the intention of qualifying as an actuary.” During his studies he always kept himself busy with various entrepreneurial projects and eventually decided to rather become an entrepreneur: “Starting and running a business is where my real passion lies,” he says.
The start of something special
Hannes’s first major step as entrepreneur was in the hospitality industry. As a partner in one of South Africa’s top 6 guesthouses at the time, Hannes eventually completed an outstanding sales transaction of this guesthouse. “During that time I still worked in the hospitality field and also ran a restaurant and nightclub in Cape Town,” he says.
It wasn’t long before Hannes and his brother saw the potential of a then small business venture: “In 2001 my brother De Wet invited me to join him in a business, Klein Karoo Koskas, which he started the previous year. Today, we all know it as Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts.”
As we all know, good things often happen one after the other, and this was no different for Hannes. “At that time I started thinking about marrying a beautiful young lady, Anneke,” he reminisces. They’ve been happily married since.
Being in the hospitality industry with its odd working hours and the challenges that come with it, Hannes decided to grab this business opportunity and joined De Wet in early October 2001. “The business was very small at that time and we operated from a 144m2 warehouse in Kya Sand. Today we do more than 100 times the turnover since I joined the company,” he says proudly.
Living the dream
Montagu’s significant successes since its inception eventually prompted Hannes to make his next move. “On 1 February 2016, after 14½ years living in Johannesburg, I moved back to the small town of Montagu and I’ve since been MDFN’s Operational Director.” Hannes’s current responsibilities mainly include the following:
- All purchases of raw materials and packaging materials
- Quality Management
- Logistics management
- Management of the packaging plant
- New product development
Needless to say, Hannes loves his job, particularly any kind of negotiation with our various service providers and potential partners. “I enjoy identifying suppliers and partners who have the same value systems that we do as a business, as well as the capacity to grow with us, ensuring that the long-term relationship is sustainable,” he says.
Reflecting on success
When we asked about his favourite aspect of the Montagu brand, Hannes said he is especially proud of the reputation for quality that Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts has been able to achieve and maintain. “It’s the fact that all the effort we have made since the founding of the business to take a constant quality product to the market is now seen by the wider public as an unbreakable contract between MDFN and themselves,” says Hannes. “That’s something quite special.”
On living a healthy lifestyle
Hannes is nuts about our Nut, Raisin, Berry & Seed Mix Snack Pack. It’s the perfect on-the-go snack. He’s also a big lover of walnuts and pistachios. “I also love anything that my wife prepares with Almond Flour. This past weekend she outdid herself (again) with the most delicious fish dish, where she used Almond Flour as the main ingredient for the crumble around the fish. You really have to ask her for the recipe!”
We might just do that, Hannes!