Richard Groot Koerkamp had always wanted from a very young age to start his own plant nursery. In 1992, he was given the opportunity to do so, and he started his own business in Wilp. The location soon proved to be too small for the growing business. In 2006, the company moved to Twello. His wife, Paula, became a joint shareholder, and the name was changed to Ripaplant B.V. The company site measures some 8 acres, with 2.3 acres of greenhouses. Ten full-time professionals work at Ripaplant, supported by ten to twenty temporary staff during peak moments. Between 10 and 20 students also work at Ripaplant.
Ripaplant produces year-round potted plants and perennials such as Violets, Primroses, Petunias, Grape hyacinths, Cyclamens and much more. Ripaplant focuses on growing unique varieties and potted plant combinations of these varieties rather than mass cultivation. By growing their own plants and innovating and developing added-value materials such as pots and baskets in trendy colours and designs, the business has obtained a unique position in the market. Richard: `Although we’re a medium-sized business with 2.3 acres, this doesn’t even begin to compare in size with some colleagues in the western part of the country. We constantly have to innovate to retain our competitive edge. We used to grow lots of Geraniums, Fuchsias and hanging plants. Today, we are more focused on niche markets, and that’s served us well. With innovations within these markets, we make sure that we stay ahead of the competition, and we use our Patio-Creations brand to service the middle and higher segments in the market.’
Planters included in delivery
One of the innovations that Richard has implemented is delivering plants with all sorts of planters and baskets to go with them. Ripaplant was one of the first growers to introduce this concept. Richard has the in-house designed planters produced under their direction in the Far East. Today, they have developed over 800 different items. Ripaplant still remains unique in that respect. The production of pot-cultivated compositions with zinc, ceramic and wooden planters and baskets only happens at a very small scale outside of Ripaplant.
This gives Ripaplant a unique and distinctive edge when supplying to garden centres. Many garden centres in the Netherlands receive Ripaplant deliveries; export abroad mostly takes place through agents. They have contacts with garden centres in many other European countries.
One new development is that Ripaplant is currently working on a pilot to deliver various types of wooden FSC-certified planters with birdhouses and butterfly and bug hotels. This pilot looks promising.
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Ripaplant | Richard Groot Koerkamp