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Prominent celebrates 25 years of doing business as a team

On 30 June 1995 - 25 years ago - seven growers founded the Prominent Growers' Association. These entrepreneurs decided to start growing tomatoes with better taste and quality to improve the image of Dutch tomatoes and secure a premium price for them. And just look at where this team of growers is now. Time for a chat with some of the people behind the story. So it was that Jack Groenewegen, chairman of Prominent; Jan Opschoor, managing director of Prominent; and Perry Dekkers, Commercial Director at Coöperatie DOOR, left their offices behind for a cup of coffee and a chat with those who helped make Prominent what it is today. Their goal: to hear not just great stories but also dreams for a sunny future.

As part of the 25th anniversary, Jack, Jan and Perry boarded the Prominent truck and set off on their visits. In speaking to people who had watched Prominent grow, they asked them what it was like to see the company expand and what characterised Prominent's growers. Jack's first visit was to Margreet van den Bos for a cup of coffee on the parking deck of the new building on the A20 motorway. Margreet was one of the first employees hired by Prominent. Next, Jack dropped in to see Ben Zwinkels at Rijk Zwaan and spoke with former Prominent chairman, Jan van der Voort. Jack also reminisced with Caby Flaton who has been working at the packaging centre for 20 years. In turn, Jan went to see Luc van der Knaap, one of the association's young business owners. And Perry drove over to Zijtwende International, a partner and customer of DOOR/Prominent from the very beginning, where he had a good conversation with Jan Prins.

Watch the anniversary video (in dutch):

Doing business as a team

At Prominent, cooperation involves more than growing, packaging, breeding new varieties and deploying staff. The members also develop their knowledge together. For example in the areas of data, sustainability measures and energy. Coöperatie DOOR is then responsible for all the commercial tasks such as sales and marketing. 'For Prominent, this 25th anniversary means 25 years of doing business as a team, seizing opportunities and always wanting to be the best', says Jack Groenewegen, chairman of Prominent. 'Over 25 years, our approach has changed from working together to doing business as a team. In January, this led to us winning the Horticulture Entrepreneur Prize', says Jack Groenewegen. 'Prominent's growers run their own businesses but still share the same objectives. After all, it's only by working together that we can persuade consumers to eat more tomatoes more often.'

Involved employees

This anniversary week is being dedicated not only to the teamwork demonstrated by the growers, suppliers and partners. The tremendous involvement of the more than hundred employees who work for Prominent is also being recognised and appreciated. 'It's unfortunate that we can’t celebrate this together in the big way we had planned. So we devised something else', says Jack. 'We've ordered cake for everyone, and all of our employees, temporary staff and our growers' employees will receive a summer-appropriate gift.

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