Going For Upgrades
LVG, owned by the Van Geest family, is the flagship grower for Plantimex and Ivo van Geest is managing director of Plantimex, the distribution arm. He and his father and two brothers run six hectares of greenhouse and all live on site. “The houses are just far enough apart to not fight,” Ivo says. The business is just 12 years old. The greenhouse facilities are modern and have attractive brick foundations that match the buildings throughout. It looks like a nicely landscaped industrial park.
Specialty crops include orchids and Poulsen varieties of potted roses. While larger roses go to nurseries, smaller ones go to retail chains. One quarter of Plantimex’s business is Woolworth, which is different in South Africa than it was in the States. It is considered a higher end department store versus a discount store. Stores near Johannesburg receive deliveries everyday, Cape Town, every two days. Between 2,000 and 3,000 new units are planted every week. In addition to the orchids and roses, we saw Rieger begonias, double-flowered gloxinias, landscape gerbera from Florist,
Plantimex also has its own pottery factory to control its destiny with stylish plant upgrades. “It has improved our market tremendously on certain items,” Ivo says. “We’re not as cheap as China. Pots are $1.50 to $2 from our factory. We looked at importing but we can do shorter runs here, change molds. We’re not bound to huge numbers and we have less cost in inventory. Every six months, our looks change.”