How to go from holiday job to (co) owner

As holiday workers, Omer and Jerry once worked for Harry Koene. Today, the three of them operate the two gardens of the Opstal Nursery in Naaldwijk, the Netherlands, in a three hectare field where the Rosa polyantha grow on bushes that could be ten years old. What made these men decide to get into roses full time and make their product so special for florists?

The origin
As school boys, they got to know each other among the Rosa polyantha. They got along well and, after the MAVO (junior general secondary education), the choice was easy: enroll in horticultural school and go into business. Ten years ago, Omer and Jerry jointly purchased a second location with Harry. With the three of them letting Harry’s original operation, Opstal Nursery now has three official owners. Jerry looks after the crops and everything that this involves. Omer is in charge of sales and Harry does everything else, filling in wherever needed. Since January 2015 Opstal Nursery is a preferred supplier of FleuraMetz.

Product range
The nursery delivers some 20 varieties of Rosa polyantha, five of which can be labelled unique. The White Lady, Sweet Stars and Romantic Bubbles are exclusively cultivated at Opstal Nursery. The new breeding varieties are first tested for six months. If the results are positive, the first sizeable numbers will only be planted 18 months later. Omer talks about competition from Africa. ‘It is enormous, especially because of the mass production. That is why we try to market at least one new variety every year.’ Next year this will be the new Lace variety, in various varieties and colors. It’s an Australia vine rose with a magnificent, large bud. ‘For the more exclusive bridal arrangements’, Omer announces proudly. The expectation is that the Lace will be available at FleuraMetz starting Valentine’s Day 2016.

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