Making the world a more beautiful place with flowers every day

Interview with Erik-Jaap Kroone, Managing Director of Nijssen Jr. BV

Erik-Jaap Kroone, Managing Director of Nijssen Jr. BV
Erik-Jaap Kroone, Managing Director of Nijssen Jr. BV

For thousands of years, people have enjoyed beautiful flowers. And to this day, this fascination remains unbroken. Thus, cut flowers are often chosen for numerous occasions. That these flowers reach the consumer fresh and in excellent quality is also a merit of the Dutch Nijssen Jr. BV. The company, based in De Kwakel near Aalsmeer, supplies customers all over the world and especially the German market reliably with a wide selection of cut flowers.

It is an extremely rich assortment that Nijssen Jr. BV offers its customers. Thus, the range spans from anemones, anthuriums, asters, chrysanthemums, lilacs, freesias, and gladioli to hydrangeas, lilies, and orchids, all the way to peonies, phlox, ranunculuses, and roses.

In addition, the portfolio includes further varieties as well as greenery, dried flowers, branches, mosses, and ornamental fruits. "We have a long history and the experience of more than 55 years," emphasizes Erik-Jaap Kroone, managing director and owner of Nijssen Jr. BV. He has been in the flower business for over 30 years and knows the business very well.

"We have a young and very professional team. Our buyers specialize in different flowers – for example, roses or hydrangeas. If there are questions, our customers can reach them directly. For us, the highest quality is the priority. We know the German market very well and maintain personal contact with our customers."

Nijssen Jr. BV Cut Flowers
Always fresh: Quality is the priority for the cut flowers

Focus on Cut Flowers

"We have a Nijssen heart," says Erik-Jaap Kroone, coining the company's slogan that focuses on the export and import of cut flowers and, to a lesser extent, potted flowers. "Germany is our most important market," says the managing director. "But we also supply Austria, the Middle East, and – recently – Singapore. We procure many flowers from Dutch growers, anemones and ranunculus from France, cut foliage from Italy, and roses from Ecuador. Other countries from which we source our flowers include Colombia, South Africa, Ethiopia, and Spain."

Purchasing is always done in large quantities. 80% of all deliveries to customers are carried out with our own trucks. Aside from wholesale, Nijssen Jr. also supplies cash & carry markets and, in the Middle East, retail chains.

Nijssen Jr. BV Modern Truck Fleet
Modern truck fleet: 80% of transports are carried out with our own vehicles, all of which comply with the Euro 6 standard

Long History

In 1968, the brothers Pim and Peter Nijssen founded the company in Santpoort-Noord, near Haarlem. From the very beginning, their activities focused on exporting cut flowers to southern Germany. Initially, tulips and roses were the main flowers. However, over time, the range was continuously expanded.

In 1998, the Nijssen brothers retired from the business and sold the operation to Nico Beentjes and René Warmerdam. In 2002, the company moved from Santpoort-Noord to its current location near the Dutch flower capital of Aalsmeer. In 2008, the current owner, Erik-Jaap Kroone, joined the company to eventually take over Nico Beentjes' position and lead the company into the future with René Warmerdam. However, René Warmerdam died in a car accident the same year.

In 2009, Nijssen Jr. was able to double the operating area, and a year later, a new and state-of-the-art shopping room was commissioned. Finally, in 2013, Erik-Jaap Kroone took over the company as the sole shareholder and managing director, and five years later, celebrated the company's 50th anniversary with the entire team.

Personal Contacts

The company, with its 35 employees, focuses notably on personal contacts in distribution. Furthermore, Nijssen Jr. communicates with existing and potential new customers via app, phone, and WhatsApp. Marketing activities include creating inspiration bouquets together with the growers as well as photos and promotions – for example, with anthuriums – also with the growers. In addition, the company is also active on social networks like Facebook and Instagram. Customers can always check the stocks of flowers at Nijssen and at the respective growers in the Nijssen Jr. webshop.

Sustainably Packaged

Sustainability is an important issue for Erik-Jaap Kroone. Due to high energy costs, therefore, the growers already produce as energy-efficiently as possible in their own interest. But sustainability is also a central focus at Nijssen Jr. "Five years ago, our packaging was made up of 100% plastic," says the managing director. "Today, we already use other materials for half of it. Our entire truck fleet meets the Euro 6 standard. Moreover, we minimize empty spaces on our tours as much as possible and take recyclables back to the Netherlands from our customers."

Targeting Younger Customers

The good operational atmosphere at Nijssen Jr. is evident from the fact that some employees continue to work there even after retiring. For the coming years, Erik-Jaap Kroone is aiming for moderate growth: "We continue to see opportunities for organic growth, as flowers are simply part of human life. Consumers have found their way back to flower shops and we want to specifically target younger customers in the future." The managing director's personal motivation also reveals his passion: "I enjoy making the world a more beautiful place with a wonderful product every day."