Lennart Lekkerkerk: “The future is full of opportunities”10 December 2018
Lennart Lekkerkerk (35) is co-owner of JHL Group, a nursery that grows potted gerbera, gloxinia, poinsettia and potted amaryllis. At this time of year (around Sinterklaas) the production of poinsettia increases.
Lennart became co-owner in 2005, along with his four brothers. After the sudden passing of his father Hans, they fully took over the company in good harmony. "The most important thing is communicating well with each other and keeping commitments."
Lennart is a level-headed grower with a clear corporate vision. When asked why the company chooses to grow red poinsettia in November and December, he replies that the market demands it. Potted gerbera are grown pretty much all year round, but in the fourth quarter, the demand strongly decreases. The production meters that are freed up because of this are used to grow poinsettias and potted amaryllis. Last year, JHL group grew a season of multi-colored poinsettias to see if it would catch on, but this was not a success. The focus now remains on red poinsettias.
Stubborn when it comes to flowers
"We are from an old family of growers from before 1500. The family started by growing leafy vegetables and then cucumbers. Around 1980, Hans 'stubbornly' started with flowers, rebelling against the family tradition. The company steadily expanded to a total of 3 locations after 2000. Lennart: "The proper running of a company depends on good communication and clear agreements. Everyone has their own role and it works well.
Everything is on paper
Naturally, the death of his father had a huge impact on the family, but they have a true 'carry on' mentality and that turned out well for them. "Our company policy is defined in our policy plan. It includes our vision, who does what and which agreements and expectations correspond to that. Everything is on paper. That is how we stay on course. It is our driving force. We can proceed with this plan. It helped us to continue the company in 2010, and it helps you with any kind of setbacks in your business operations. In addition, our family business has a social cohesion that makes us strong."
Ageing is a good thing
How does Lennart see the future? "There are many opportunities and we need to seize them. The rising ageing population results in a growing group of elderly people with great purchasing power. In addition, we also focus on young people who are sensitive to the health aspect of our plants. It is wonderful to make people happy with your product."
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