ARJEN STOUTEN

LIKE-MINDED
ENTREPRENEURSHIP
SINCE 2014

“WE BELIEVE IN SLOW GROWTH”

Arjen Stouten is the third generation at the family business Huyskweker Stouten in the Dutch province of Zeeland. He runs a thriving nursery in Oosterland together with his father, brother, partners and an employee. Despite his age – 74 – grandpa Bram is also still on site at the nursery every day. In 2014 Stouten joined the Huyskweker Group, a formula of professional growers, mainly producing summer flowering plants in pots and containers. Huyskweker Stouten has also been a Legro customer since then.

GREAT CONVERSATIONS OVER ZEEUWSE BOLUSSEN

Legro was already a supplier for this enthusiastic group of entrepreneurs before Stouten joined the Huyskweker Group. Henk Berendsen, Sales Representative at Legro, reached out, and at the end of 2013 they had their first meeting. Arjen: “We clicked right away, and when we joined the Huyskweker Group in 2014, we actually became one of Legro’s customers. To this day, Henk is still our contact there. We see him a few times a year here in Zeeland and we always have great conversations over coffee and Zeeuwse bolussen (a sweet pastry made of white bread dough, brown sugar and cinnamon). Legro really listens to our needs and helps us realise our ambitions.”

SPECIAL FLOWER BOXES AND HANGING BASKETS

Huyskweker Stouten grows and makes bedding plants for hanging baskets and flower boxes for consumers. Next to the nursery there is a shop that sells the plants to customers from the wider region. Arjen: “An important part of Huyskweker’s concept is special flower boxes and hanging baskets for balconies and patios. With these flower boxes and hanging baskets, our customers can easily enjoy the most beautiful flowers all season long. They have a smart water reservoir, so the plants absorb the precise amount of water needed for a lush display of blooms. In addition to the bedding plants, we produce plants that go dormant in the winter so the flower boxes can even be filled during those months.”

SIMILAR VALUES

It doesn’t surprise Arjen that the relationship between Huyskweker Stouten and Legro is so good. “when it comes to entrepreneurship and collaboration, we share the same values,” he says. “Just like Legro, we mainly think long-term, and we’re always looking for ways to improve. I think that’s typical of family businesses. In general, we don’t wait for things to happen; we’re always looking to the future and trying to anticipate what’s around the corner. Together with Legro, we look at product development, and think about the use of renewable raw materials for future-proof cultivation. We are quite perfectionistic about this, and we believe in slow growth. For example, we don’t want our plants to grow big as fast as possible, but rather to develop roots properly first. That makes the plants stronger, so they will eventually flower much more beautifully.”

FUTURE-PROOF CULTIVATION

“For us, future-proof cultivation means using as little heating as possible,” Arjen continues. “Not only does that make a difference in costs, it’s also better for limiting emissions. Furthermore, we spray as little as possible. We limit the growth of insects and the damage done by them organically, thus stimulating root growth and flowering. We are one of the first in the wider region to be working this way. It’s not always easy, however, because there is still very little technical knowledge available in this area. But we believe in a sustainable approach, and our customers are happy with it too, so we definitely plan to keep it up.”

MORE ACTIVE PLANTS, EARLIER FLOWERING

Legro worked with Stouten to develop its own substrate for cultivation. Arjen: “It’s great to see how Legro really works with us as a team. They put together a substrate composition especially for us, which contains less peat. This substrate will make our plants last much longer and will stimulate more active growth for a longer period. We also see this in the raising stage: the plants are more active and flower earlier. Legro also supplies Huyskweker with a potting compost specifically for nurseries in 20- and 40-liter bags. In addition, we sell several products from the Legro consumer line to our own customers. And if it’s up to us, that will continue to be the case. Just like us, Legro is fully committed to quality. Moreover, as a supplier, they are very flexible. If I call when a delivery is needed a day earlier or later, that’s almost never a problem.”

LITTLE HAS CHANGED IN 100 YEARS

Arjen is confident about the future of the nursery. Arjen: We have complete confidence in the Huyskweker concept in combination with our focus on quality and consumers. Of course, we are always looking ahead. For example, every year in December, we invite Henk, an agronomist from Haifa, and a biologist to look back on the season together and share our thoughts about the near future, for example about the best substrate composition and fertilisation. That’s always a fun and valuable session! And I also still have the notes from my great-grandfather, who always used to keep track of the weather and precipitation. They go back 100 years, and the amazing thing is how little has changed!”

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Home
  1. Sjef & Lisette
  2. Janus & Nicole
  3. Frank & Anton
  4. Ralph
  5. Arjen
  6. Juni
  7. Juli
  8. Augustus
  9. September
  10. Oktober
  11. November
  12. December