What makes a small horticultural business grow? Diversifying its product offering and building on past success. And when it comes to shipping its product, Holtkamp Greenhouses chooses FedEx.
Holtkamp Greenhouses, Inc was founded in 1904 by Martin Dorrenbach in the lower Rhein Valley of Germany. By the 1930's, his son-in-law and horticulturist, Hermann Holtkamp, Sr. started to breed his first Saintpaulias on one square meter of greenhouse space. By the early 1950's, Hermann Holtkamp intensified his efforts and his first real success gave the breeder hope for the potted plant's future. At the time, Mr. Holtkamp said that the African Violet would be the plant of the future. And he was right.
In 1977, Holtkamp Greenhouses opened in Nashville, Tenn., and the Optimara brand name was introduced to American consumers. In 1981, Holtkamp Greenhouses began working with Optiflora, a plant care product line that also sells its products under the Optimara brand name. In 1992, the company began growing miniature Poinsettias. And over the last few years, Holtkamp Greenhouses has added Elatior Begonias, Rex Begonias and many varieties of ferns and foliage plants. In the future, the company hopes to add even more items, which will give Holtkamp Greenhouses new and exciting opportunities to deliver a diverse product line to its consumers.
Though Holtkamp Greenhouses originally started working with smaller greenhouse operations and flower shops, they have now expanded their program to include the big box stores like Lowes, Home Depot and Wal-Mart. The key to this expansion? Owner Reinhold Holtkamp attributes their ability to overcome packaging challenges as a main key to their success. They have developed their own efficient way of packaging their products so that it arrives with minimal damage at its destination. When it comes to shipping their product, Holtkamp Greenhouses turns to FedEx for help. "Due to the perishability of our products, we like for our products to be shipped quickly and efficiently. FedEx provides us with a fast move into most of our markets," Reinhold explains.
Holtkamp Greenhouses hasn't always used FedEx® services. Their FedEx sales rep explains that the company switched to FedEx from a competitor based on the transit time advantages, reduced damage and overall reliability. They are currently taking advantage of FedEx ground shipping within the U.S. and are also using express shipping services, as well as preparing to implement the FedEx International Economy DirectDistributionSM Service program to begin importing plants from Brazil.
When asked about Holtkamp Greenhouses' relationship with their sales rep, Reinhold explains, "Our rep has played an integral part in getting us back from UPS and keeping us with FedEx. Without his constant oversight, we would have wandered astray.” In fact, their relationship is so close that their rep accompanied Reinhold to Brazil to make sales calls earlier this year. While there, they also made joint calls to the farms that source some of Holtkamp's plants. In addition, their FedEx sales rep has helped his client take advantage of fedex.com online services like billing, preparing labels, tracking and scheduling pickups. Holtkamp is also on Directlink and uses FedEx InSight® and is fully integrated with a new FedEx Ship Manager® station.