On a sunny Saturday afternoon, young Nicolas was turning his compost with an old fork in his parents’ back yard behind their stables. Only one thought filled his head, “One day I’ll have my own nursery.”
Well, his dream came true in October 1996 when a young married Nicolas and Chrizelle, were able to secure some land on Northumberland Ave, exactly where the nursery is today. The capital was nowhere to be borrowed or found, so Chrizelle kept working for the SABC, while Nicolas ploughed every cent he could lay his hands on into buying gum-poles, fencing and shade-cloth. The gum-poles were stolen before the cement was dry and it took some fighting and determination to keep going, but they did.
Eventually, opening day came with a banner, balloons and some red and white cloth draped over the fence. The office consisted of one wheelbarrow, a calculator and an invoice book. At night all three office items would be loaded on the back of the bakkie to return in the morning.
About five months passed and a Zo-zo hut appeared, a lot more plants and even a few workers. Eighteen months later a proper office was constructed. All profits went straight back into the business and it paid off.
Initially, the trend was to try growing some of the plants we sold, but the vast demand for variety kept us buying in what customers asked for and not what we liked to grow. Nicolas mobilized all his experience gained as Assistant Manager & Buyer for Keith Kirstens, as well as his three years experience, managing 4 Season’s Nursery, and he ploughed ahead.
Meantime Chrizelle stopped working in the film industry to help fulltime in their family venture, which by now was sustaining the family as well as a few workers and their families.
About four years into the life of Nicolas Plants a smallholding was acquired in Randfontein with a strong borehole. This was a big step forward, for now, we had space, good soil, and most importantly WATER! This was a recipe for success and we are currently growing 80% of what we sell.
In the light of Nicolas’ obsession with offering his customers the widest choice of good quality plants and hardware, we pushed head-on into supplying bulk pebbles and created a market to garden affordably with pebbles.
Having obtained the T-shirt for that, we set off into the abyss of concrete pots. We were one of the first nurseries to innovate pots in various colours thus enabling customers to combine styles from different suppliers. Next came the large pots, not just for planting, but as focal points and architectural features.
Nicolas Plants rose with a passion for water in the garden we set off striving to perfect pots as water features with many teething problems along the way. We have now perfected the art of pot features “while you wait.”
We then set our hearts on growing a huge amount of big trees and spread these over the three properties we have on Northumberland Avenue. Development and demand have created the need for instant gardens and trees. So once again we are there to entertain our customers need for NOW!
April 2011 saw the opening of our 2nd branch in Fourways. The branch was then relocated to Centurion which opened on 1 May 2014. We saw the demand for a nursery in that area as there are a limited number of competing nurseries in those suburbs. The Centurion Branch has subsequently closed to make way for our new flagship nursery in Ruimsig opening 2021. The Northriding Branch is now home to The Cyclist’s Workshop.
The opening of the second branch has proved that Nicolas’s recipe for servicing our great garden industry has worked and worked well so we would like to take this opportunity to THANK YOU, our customers for helping us get this far. Please join us while we move into the next phase of our venture.
We at Nicolas Plants aim to supply the retail and wholesale gardening market with a variety of products at great prices and the best quality possible. We are strategically located in the northeastern parts of Joburg to cater for a growing community who are becoming more environmentally aware and in so try to bring a bit of greenery and wildlife into their gardens.
Nicolas Plants employ staff who are dedicated to their work as well as being knowledgeable in sound horticultural practices.
The future is what drives any business and our vision for the future is to become the leading force within the nursery industry. Our aim is to open at least one more branch in 2021 to our already existing branch that is already steaming ahead. To keep ahead of the ‘Pack’ we will continue to strive to maintain great quality plants at reasonable prices to allow everyone the opportunity to enjoy gardening at home.
As has been in the past and will always be in the future, great gardening advice is always available and our staff are always willing to assist any gardener from the beginners to the more experienced.
All we ask is that you pop in and see what we have to offer and let us help you transform your piece of ‘earth’ into a paradise.