In September 2020, John Pieterse (47) opened his new flower shop/garden centre just outside Chicago. The entrepreneur, born and raised in the Netherlands, has been living in the United States for more than 10 years. He previously worked as a manager at several large nurseries. Covid-19 didn’t hurt the new shop, on the contrary. Sales were higher than in 2019. “The millennials in the USA discovered the importance of greenery during the pandemic. We should do more to capitalise on this generation.”
Pieterse grew up surrounded by the roses of his dad’s nursery in Amstelveen. Later, he started his own rose nursery in Moerkapelle. His neighbour, orchid nursery Smaal, traded with the USA, and they needed a manager in America. Pieterse was interested. That’s how he ended up in the orchid industry without ever having grown an orchid himself.
“The nursery was well equipped, with rolling containers for example.” The job marked the beginning of Pieterse’s American adventure, and he enjoyed working at the nursery for many years. Until Canadian investors started to take over flower nurseries for the cultivation of cannabis to produce CBD oil. He could see that the market wouldn’t be huge. By November 2019, he felt that this crop wasn’t future proof. Many of the employees were leaving as well. So, he started looking for something else. (..)
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