Chairman celebrates half century at Johnsons of Whixley

Johnsons of Whixley chairman John Richardson is celebrating 50 years since he bought the business.

Richardson, whose three sons now run the North Yorkshire grower, said price pressure has been his biggest battle throughout his time in the industry.

"When I started I used to compare basic amenity plants with the price of a cup of tea on British Rail. It used to be 25p for tea, 50p for a plant. Now it is £1.95 compared with 95p for the same plant, which includes delivery all over the country."

He advised new starters to "equip yourself with knowledge and experience but, above all, have passion and determination and accept that you will never become rich in a land-based occupation, but you will make up for that with your quality of life".

On the 50th anniversary of buying the business from Eric Johnson in 1964, he intends to be at work from 8am. He said the highlights of his half century are seeing the company develop and his three sons join the business.

The grower has sold 220 million trees and shrubs in 50 years. Richardson said his aim at three years in was £178,000 per annum but the company now turns over 55 times that amount.

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