16 July 2021
When Luc Eeckhoudt took over the Vincent floristry in Dendermonde (East Flanders) over 40 years ago, it was still a small company that only sold cut flowers and some plants. “I slowly expanded that into a complete garden centre with garden furniture, fertilisers, barbecues, indoor and outdoor plants, with a specialisation in garden ponds”, says Luc. This interview is part of our whitepaper 'Challenging times ask for online solutions'. Download the full whitepaper for more inspiring interviews.
In 1979, owner Luc Eeckhoudt took over the company on his own. Now his daughter has also been helping to run it for the last five years. "I am 63 years old, so the intention is that she will continue on her own in a few years.” In addition to Luc and his daughter, there are twelve permanent employees and, depending on the season, a number of temporary workers.
Tuincenter Vincent is specialised in garden ponds. “When ponds became fashionable 35 years ago, we responded to this. We then included garden ponds in our range, using a local wholesaler. In addition, I myself have always had a strong interest in garden ponds. It is important that you have a degree of knowledge about a product that you are selling. We do not construct the ponds ourselves, but we provide advice and have everything the customer needs.”
Tuincenter Vincent has been a customer of Garden Connect for over eight years now. Luc Eeckhoudt has been working with Dutch companies for years and often goes to auctions in the Netherlands to buy plants and products. "There's nothing new under the sun, although I always have to listen carefully to be able to understand everything.”
When the company noticed that the online sector was growing rapidly, they made use of Garden Connect. “At first this was mainly for website management. This has now grown into a webshop and in the coming year we will focus on Local SEO Marketing. There are quite a few customers who are willing to drive as much as an hour to come to us and they often spend a lot of their budget in the garden centre. So it is definitely worth investing in it."
Belgian Garden Centre Association
Besides being the owner of Tuincenter Vincent, Luc Eeckhoudt also likes to work for the interests of his colleagues in the garden centre sector. That is why he is chairman of the Belgian Garden Centre Association (BTV). “I strongly believe in good collaboration. Two members can compete with each other in certain areas, but that does not alter the fact that they can work well together in various other areas. Sometimes you have to put on a different hat to achieve the same goal. Other times, you can be competing with each other again."