Cut during the day, by night packed in a box, tomorrow in the airplane and upon arrival they will be trimmed by a few centimeters and are put on water in buckets. Ready for sale! Just a glance of the journey of the Rosa Plaza Roses from Ethiopia to Aalsmeer (NL). Owner Wim Ammerlaan and sales manager Donald Hermes gave us a sneak peek behind the scenes!
What once started in the Netherlands, has now become a modern nursery of 38 hectare and 1,100 employees in Ethiopia. The family Ammerlaan started a rose nursery in the Netherlands which has been going from son to son. In 2005 and 2006 Wim’s sons Frank and Wim jr. stepped in to the business with the idea to explore opportunities abroad. These young and open minded men travelled to Ethiopia and with great success!
On the spot!
Some enormous progress has been made, not only within the Ethiopian locations ‘AQ Roses’ but also with the local economy and its employees. The nursery has grown from 18 hectare in the first year to 38 hectare nowadays. With this growth, the number of employees has increased as well. “We find it the utmost important to deal with our employees in a social and responsible way”. That has been the reason to hire an entire Ethiopian management team. Frank is the only foreigner.
Not only has the nursery expanded its borders but the employees have grown as well: “First, we had women working in old and torn up clothes. But now we need to keep a close eye and make sure they are not making phone calls during working hours”. Most of the women are working as supervisors, the men are doing the heavy labor. In the surroundings of AQ roses many small farms and shops are located. “The entire village Ziway has benefited from our establishment here, especially economical”.
Quality and service are highly valued at AQ Roses. “Kindhearted to our employees and our customers”. Because Rosa Plaza personally manages the entire process chain, the chain is shorter and the service is at a higher level. They also meet all Fairtrade certification guidelines. “Fairtrade fits perfectly with the philosophy and the policy of AQ Roses”. At Rosa Plaza* they notice that a Fairtrade certification is becoming more and more important. And as Donald indicates the florist is choosing in the end: "That is what it is all about”.
“Producing something that puts a smile on the customers’ face gives us the right to exist. Therefore, we collaborate with partners who do understand that”, said by Wim and Donald. “We need to make sure and maximize the chance that the final customer enjoys a bunch of flowers.” In addition, both men indicate that it is important to do what your good at. This is also shown in the collaboration with FleuraMetz: “We both are doing what we do best. FleuraMetz is the cement between the bricks and takes a part of the logistic and financial burden out of our hands”. It is also important to generate brand recognition further in the chain. “That is what we strive to do, for example by promoting products in the C&C’s like last week!”
* Rosa Plaza is the brand of the roses and AQ Roses represents Ammerlaan Quality Roses and is the name of the location in Ethiopia.