In 2000 Erik Boterdaele took the company over from his father and cultivates mainly the larger sizes of Hebe Addenda, Aucuba and Euonymus. On 1 ha. under glass and 3 ha. in the open air, he grows 500,000 plants per year, mainly for Belgian and Dutch wholesalers, garden centres and cash & carry’s, though some also go to customers in France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
‘The environment is our business,’ says Erik. ‘That’s why we are a member of VMS-MPS. We always obtain an A certificate and so can comply with the requirements of certain chains.’ Erik’s membership of the Addenda and BE-Plants grower’s associations proves that smaller family firms can gain a strong market position.
InvestmentsTwo years ago Erik invested in the future of his company. ‘A new warehouse and a greenhouse in plastic film, an automation line and a recirculation watering system enable us to continue growing and expand so as to offer a more complete range.’ The company’s aim is always to achieve high quality. ‘Because quality is the condition on which we are able to supply customers,’ says Erik. ‘This way of thinking applies to everything we do. We start with a strict selection of the starting material and raw materials, we choose the right method of cultivation, have to detect diseases and infestations in time, and we have invested in a reliable watering computer, fertiliser installation and climate computer.’
Partnership with customers‘We adopt a very flexible position towards our customers because I am convinced of the need to adapt quickly.’ In this way Erik emphasises one of the main assets of a family firm. ‘We are on the same wavelength as our customers and try to make sure they have nothing to worry about. Arranging transport and supplying special labels are just two examples. We really see our customers as partners and are happy to make an extra effort to have an intensive dialogue with them.’
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Erik Boterdaele bvba