The tour began on 8 February with a visit to the Elho factory where the group heard the latest trend information and ideas from the company that was established in 1964 and which turns out more than 60 million pieces a year. Half of the electricity generated by the company windmill runs the office and factory complex, with the remaining 50% sold back to the grid.
In the evening the group attended the Garden Retail Experience Gala Dinner returning the next day to tour the exhibition in detail. The Garden Retail Experience is an inspiration event using themes to bring together groups of products to inspire. The overall theme for this year’s event was ‘Growing Emotion’ highlighting that by creating the right emotion in customers can led to increased sales.
Tours from Laurens Doesborgh and Romeo Summers provided insight into the ideas behind the themes and the tangible ways in which garden centres can bring these stories to life, including a ‘back to nature’ entrance display, a mini festival with mismatched plants, a butterfly house in-store and a rain garden feature. The day finished with a visit to a garden centre – Ranzijn Nieuw-Vennep – a family owned group which is expanding rapidly in the Netherlands.
On Friday the study tour group visit the ‘Clock’ plant and flower auction at Aalsmeer, hosted by Paul Moors and Brian Redman from Garden Centre Fresh. Moors, an ex-clock buyer, provided an overview and the group was impressed by the efficiency of the clock process watching stock moving through. FloraHolland then provided a tour of the processing and distribution centre.
The tour concluded with a trip to Hilverda De Boer, one of The Netherlands largest cut flower exporters, to see the operation in action as it gears up for Valentine’s Day and hear about the most popular flowers in different countries.