Exporting flowers to faraway destinations isn’t getting any easier due to the coronavirus crisis. But the biggest blows are still to come. Especially in the wholesale trade. Holex Fower has a few good years behind them, and director Paul Hoogenboom is hopeful for the future. “Without a second coronavirus wave, 2021 could be a great year.”
“Things haven’t been easy. When Trump announced the closing of the American borders, almost all air traffic came to a halt. Our turnover dropped to 20-25% during those two weeks”, reports Paul Hoogenboom (58). The walls of his office in De Kwakel showcase several nice paintings. He studied art history but Hoogenboom, originally from Roelofarendsveen, has been working in the flower trade for many years. His love of art never went away though. The still life and landscape paintings on the wall are beacons of calm at this strange time.
The coronavirus is making flights to faraway markets nearly impossible. When the crisis began, Holex’ main market, the USA, had almost come to a halt. Air cargo traffic has resumed by now, but the rates are extremely high. “Last week, our turnover was around 75-80% compared to last year. I’m certainly not desperate, but I do think that in the wholesale trade, the biggest blows are still to come.”
It sounds like you’re predicting a hard time for the wholesale sector?
“We’re at the start of a long, hot summer season. That’s always a quieter time, causing quite some cashflow problems even under normal circumstances. We missed out on the wedding season in America, which meant that customers saw a huge drop in their flower turnover. Companies haven’t been able to build up a buffer during the months leading up to June. As a result, I expect there will be some payment problems ahead. And that doesn’t just apply to our customers. Wholesalers in other countries will also be facing hard times the coming months.”
Click here to read the full interview with Paul Hoogenboom in the new Floribusiness digital magazine.
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