Landmark florist Hollandia slated for closure
PHOTO BY LAUREN MITCHELL
Family-owned and operated from the same location for almost six decades, Vaudreuil-Dorion’s landmark floral centre Hollandia will close up shop November 11.
A community fixture in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region that began as a small garden centre almost 60 years ago, selling local produce including strawberries, tomatoes and asparagus, will soon be shutting its doors.
Centre Floral Hollandia on route Harwood in Vaudreuil-Dorion near the corner of Chemin Daoust is set to close November 11 after being for sale for close to two years.
After emigrating from the Netherlands in 1953, original owner Herman Pouw began growing and selling the fruits of his labour.
“It started off very small, and then he added the windmill,” said Herman’s son Peter Pouw. “Then it grew and grew, and we added more greenhouses.” Peter recounted fond memories how he and his seven siblings all grew up pitching in to work in the family-owned business. “We would come in evenings and on weekends. We all put effort in to make it happen. It was a real family business.”
Peter said the family’s focus and clientele were local and Hollandia had provided the flowers for many weddings over the years for events at Auberge des Gallant and Château Vaudreuil.
“A fire about 20 years ago burnt the place completely down,” said Peter of the mid-winter blaze that started in the garage where the snow-clearing equipment was kept.
“It was right after Christmas,” Peter said. “With the high winds, the whole place was gone in minutes.”
Herman and son Ben, who’s the current owner and operator, rebuilt the operation from scratch. The store is now being run by Ben’s daughter, Julie Léonard after Ben fell ill over a year ago.
Peter said competition from not only regional florists but from big-box stores made it tougher to succeed but credits the area residents for their loyalty.
“There has to be something we can do to thank the community for all their support,” said Peter in a phone interview October 17. “It’s been a long run, and it’s been a great run. But if it wasn’t for the community – Hudson, Saint-Lazare, Vaudreuil-Dorion…,” Peter said, his voice trailing off.
Peter said he’s hoping the news will spark a few long-time community members to pass by and say hello and reconnect with a little bit of local history.