“The company was small, but our ambitions were great,” shareholder Wim van der Plas says about the company that his father Willem van der Plas Sr. started in 1971. One by one, Wim and his brothers Henk, Hans and Anton start to work at the company. Wim: “Everything depended on us: from sales to packing and from loading to delivery. That is very different now.”

Family business

Wim is referring to the more than 1000 employees who now keep the robust family business afloat. In more than eighty countries, over 6.5 thousand customers are served throughout Europe. Henk: “When we bought our own building in Rijnsburg, not only did our range grow, but also our clientele. Where we first only served florists, increasingly larger retailers and supermarkets joined us.”

In the past 50 years, many companies from all over the Netherlands have merged into Floral Trade Group; from specialist retailers to e-tail and import. When Heembloemex became a full part of the family business seven years ago, the four brothers got a fifth business brother: Cees de Mooij. “They always refer to me as their adopted brother”, Cees says with a smile. “I am the living proof that a blood tie is not crucial for being part of the family. Every company that joins us as a partner, retains its own face and identity. At the same time, we utilize synergy benefits and jointly focus on sustainable value creation. Because only when we work together, we can we achieve a permanent top 3 position in European trade.”

Solid foundation

Sharing the latest knowledge and craftsmanship as a family of companies – from Business Intelligence, e-commerce, ICT and sustainability to operations and trends – creates a solid foundation. “Together we can deal with setbacks much better,” says Anton.

“For example the corona crisis. Some of our customers almost saw their entire revenue evaporate in a short period of time. It was as if we were sitting in a crashing plane, of which we ourselves were the captain. During such a crisis you realise how important it is to spread risks. We have never made a loss in all those 50 years and we are proud of that.”

Personal relationships

Although the ‘Floral Trade Group family’ continues to grow, the lines remain short and the connections warm. Hans: “We used to know everything about your customers, but that is different now. Fortunately, we have employees throughout Europe who maintain the personal relationships.

Our added value lies in our enormous scale, our market insight, our personal service, never saying no and solving problems immediately. In addition, we are fortunate that many young talents work at our family business, who bring knowledge of the latest trends and techniques. This is how we stay ahead.”

Golden anniversary

Flourishing 50 years together: in the next few months we will be celebrate our golden anniversary together! With all our different companies and employees. With a special anniversary magazine, a festive family day, warm memories from 50 years of FTG, beautiful stories and photos from our younger years. Follow us on LinkedIn and celebrate with us. On to the 100 years, together!