Establishment of the REO Auction

The REO Auction was set up during the Second World War, on 20 July 1942, by 25 founders. Due to the war situation, the first auction day had to wait until 21 November 1943. The story of the REO Auction began in a small hangar belonging to a potato trader in Sint-Amandstraat in the town centre of Roeselare.

Photo: Founders of the REO Auction

1942

First auction clock

The REO Auction relocated a few times to keep up with the expanding horticultural production in West Flanders. The first stop was Vaartkaai (1945) and then it moved to Kattenstraat (1948), also in Roeselare. There, on 18 February 1952, fruit and vegetables were auctioned for the first time using a mechanical auction clock. The previous Administrative Director of the REO Auction, Maurice Declercq, cobbled the auction clock together using recovered car components, among other things.

1952

Relocation to Diksmuidsesteenweg

Due to a lack of space, the REO Auction relocated to Diksmuidsesteenweg. The official inauguration of the first REO auction complex consisting of two hangars took place on 20 February 1955 in the presence of the provincial governor of West Flanders, Pierre van Outryve d'Ydewalle.

1954

Expansion of the REO Auction

Growing supply and turnover figures required an expansion to Diksmuidsesteenweg. In 1965, a 6-hectare plot adjacent to the 2-hectare auction site was purchased. A new auction complex was built, incorporating 4 hectares for parking. The official laying of the foundation stone took place on 3 November.

Photo: a picture from 1967 of the supply of items at the expanded auction

1965

Blocking

In anticipation of simultaneous auctions, the REO Auction introduced blocking in 1978. This involves the same product from different growers, but of equal quality and grading, being placed and sold in one block. Sales were ‘individual’ for a block sale. This meant that the products of each REO producer were auctioned separately. The REO producer delivered one or more steel boxes on an iron pushcart before the auction clocks. This photo was taken in the sales hall at Diksmuidsesteenweg.

1978

First simultaneous sale

Heightened tension in the sales hall of the REO Auction before the first simultaneous sale on 5 February 1983. For this, a basket of vegetables was offered for sale with the Centre for Greenhouse Vegetables (CVG) in Sint-Katelijne-Waver. The REO Auction always made its auction clocks accessible to everyone who met the required conditions. This vision contrasts with that used in France and in the Netherlands, where they opted for accredited purchasers. Belgian auctions consciously rejected this corporatist model to prevent large-scale buyers from undermining the free market. With its liberal and open strategy, the REO Auction ensures that the interplay between supply and demand is fully reflected in the auction clock.

1983

New auction

In 1987, the Board of Directors of the REO Auction decided to build a new, spacious complex at the current address along Oostnieuwkerksesteenweg. Construction work started in May 1989. On Thursday, 25 January 1990, when the four roof trusses of the goods received depot had finally been mounted , an extremely severe storm raged across our country with wind speeds of up to 155 km per hour. The noise from the pounding gusts of winds in the iron structure of the goods received depot under construction was deafening. But the four mounted roof trusses remained standing. The new auction complex was put into service on 1 April 1991 and was officially inaugurated on 24 May during the same year.

1991

Packaging department

In Diksmuidsesteenweg, the previous auction buildings made way for the current packaging department of the REO Auction. The REO Auction acquired the adjacent Vuylsteke site in 2011. After a thorough soil sanitation, a new box shed was put into service on the 3-hectare plot for taking in, setting up and sorting one-way packaging in 2015. An 8,000 m² demonstration and research greenhouse was put on the roof of the new building. In this roof greenhouse, practical research will be conducted into the soilless cultivation of leaf crops and fruit and vegetables, innovative energy-saving cultivation systems, sustainable applications for industrial residual heat and efficient allocation of space. The construction of the roof greenhouse, an investment by Inagro and the province of West Flanders, starts in 2018.

2015
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