It is hard to know what the flower and plant industry would look like today without the pioneering spirit and forward-thinking approach of this year’s winner.
Leon Eijgenraam has given over 40 years to the flower and plant industry and has been pioneering in his approach and has developed many people along the way on his illustrious journey in the industry
In his every endeavour it has not just been what he has done, but also the way in which he has gone about it. Every time an inspiration to others.
Today he still plays an active role working with his Zyon UK team and also with the Swiss Coop and Tesco Central Europe. He promotes Anglo-Dutch relationships and new initiatives to inspire the next generation, recently supporting the initiation of the World Horti Centre.
In 1979 this entrepreneurial individual started an adventure when he created Sion Plants to supply indoor plants to UK retail. In 1983 Leon started to develop relationships when he began supplying UK retailers including Tesco, M&S and Safeway.
Just two year later Sion Plants began supplying M&S with plants. Another two years and he formed Sion Flowers establishing the first flower production facility in 1989 when Sion Plants and Flowers merged with Van Duyn Group - later becoming the Dutch Flower Group.
In 1990 Sion Flowers became the first flower supplier to Tesco - a truly remarkable moment in the industry! In1998 Leon's entrepreneurial spirit led him to become an independent business again and he founded Hortic Express in the UK.
Then Zyon BV was formed in 2003 supplying the Swiss Co-op and in 2006 he developed business with Tesco Central Europe. He then acquired Riverside Nurseries in Spalding in 2013 which became Zyon UK. By 2015 Zyon UK had won Multiple Floral Supplier of the Year at the FPC Awards and this was much a result of his tireless dedication to the industry.
The flower and plant industry never enjoys the accolades that surround edible produce categories and yet, it is an area that continues to evolve and delight so many customers. The development of the supermarket opportunity was less obvious than fresh produce and needed to be nurtured and proven – Leon Eijgenraam was an initiator and main driver of what we know today and his passion for what he does has endured.
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