How does someone buy a fruit delivery business for $100,000 and turn it into a $25 million dollar company? That is what The Sydney Morning Herald asked Martin Halphen. He is the owner of The Fruit Box.
His company has 50 vans throughout Australia, delivering more than 600,000 pieces - or 120 tonnes - of fruit to offices each week.
But when Halphen bought the business in 2000, it had just two vans in Melbourne, 280 home customers and "1.5 staff".
"I wanted to go into a business that would probably create some sort of suburban distribution system," Halphen says.
He began scouring newspapers for businesses to buy, and settled on the first ad he saw.
"I just backed myself. It was blind courage, absolute blind courage. There was no sense in it other than blind instinct," Halphen says.
The business delivered boxes of fruit to homes in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs, but a chance conversation with a customer early on sparked a rethink that would dramatically improve the business.
The customer wondered if The Fruit Box would deliver to her workplace, and Halphen saw an opening.
He felt if one corporation liked the idea, others would be sure to follow. Mailing out a "less than amateur brochure" to 1500 CBD companies, his instincts were proved correct when about 40 customers signing up immediately.
Photo by moaksey