Santa’s hard-working helpers – An article from the Grafschafter Nachrichten by Susanne Menzel

The hard-working helpers of Father Christmas and the Christ Child are not recognisable at first glance. When they walk across the yard of M+F-Spedition at Euregiostraße 2 in Nordhorn, they don’t wear red hats or any other visual signs that would make them recognisable as ‘Christmas elves’. Nevertheless, right now, in the last few weeks of the year, they are clearly on a mission. Millions of toys are stored, picked and shipped from here all over the world. In addition to the North Pole, Nordhorn and Gildehaus are therefore also important locations from which children’s Christmas wishes are realised. ‘We send the presents on their way here,’ smiles M+F Managing Director Çetin Çelik.

He lists 30 million toys that pass through the locations in Grafschaft Bentheim. ‘That means we make almost as many children happy,’ claims Çetin Çelik. 1700 containers of dolls, cuddly toys, games, Playmobil and model kits arrive here every year. Mainly from Asia, but also from many other parts of the world. ‘We are one of the most important toy distribution centres in the world,’ says the M+F Managing Director proudly.

‘And of course we make the majority of our sales in the last three months of the year.’ 180 employees, plus ten permanent employees from Lebenshilfe and 40 seasonal workers are on hand to bring a sparkle to the eyes of girls and boys.
Customers include not only toy shops and supermarkets, but the private customer sector is also becoming increasingly important. ‘Anyone who orders from an online retailer, for example, is also served by us,’ says Çetin Çelik, describing the business process.

The companies send their stock to Grafschaft. They are stored there and picked for orders. ‘The destinations are mainly in German-speaking countries, but also in the Benelux countries, Asia and South America,’ reports the Managing Director. The ‘Santa’s helpers’ in the toy division started around 22 years ago. ‘The first customer was Revell, for whom we drove the transports. We stored around 50 pallets of goods here at the time,’ recalls Çetin Çelik. ‘I realised that there was a niche for this and stuck with it. Within a year, we were able to acquire well-known customers, and to date 60 different toy brands are represented here.’

Since 1989, M+F Spedition has been part of the internationally active Huettemann Group, which is headquartered in Duisburg and employs 700 people at 23 locations across Europe. In Nordhorn, M+F Spedition has expanded its warehouse space from an initial 5,000 to 27,000 square metres. Çelik: ‘More is not possible here on Euregiostrasse. That’s why we also moved to Gildehaus.’ Of course, the haulage gnomes are also allowed to take a look at the range of toys – or at least find out about the contents of the parcels. ‘I have the feeling that the age of children who really still play with dolls or building sets is getting lower and lower. Media engagement, on the other hand, is increasing and starts much earlier,’ says the haulage company boss.

Although orders still include everything from board games to remote-controlled helicopters, the Managing Director has also noticed trends. During the coronavirus pandemic, outdoor products such as pools and swings were particularly popular. As well as parlour games. Licensed toys – such as Harry Potter items or Disney figures – are still popular. Schleich animals and the corresponding accessories are also a perennial favourite.

When asked, Çetin Çelik admits with a grin that his own three children ‘were always thrilled when they were allowed to walk through the warehouses with their dad.’ The Managing Director remains silent about what ‘Father Christmas’ fulfilled from the wish lists of the now grown-up offspring. According to the global database Statista, families with children in Germany plan to spend an average of 327 euros on Christmas presents for Christmas 2023. Compared to the previous year, the willingness to spend on gifts has thus increased by seven per cent. To put it plainly: the Christmas helpers on Euregio Street still have a few stressful days ahead of them until all the deliveries have arrived under the Christmas trees.


Die fleißigen Helfer des Weihnachtsmannes - Ein Artikel aus den Grafschafter Nachrichten von Susanne Menzel

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