Question marks over Pinchbeck plant firm after doors shut at depot
Uncertainty surrounds Pinchbeck gardening firm Plantiflor amid rumours that parent company Bakker Hillegom may be in financial trouble.
Plantiflor’s depot in Enterprise Way was closed when the Lincolnshire Free Press visited the site on Friday after a contacted the newspaper with concerns about an unfulfilled order.
I had no indication that anything was wrong until last week when I found out that Bakker may be having some problems - that’s when alarm bells started going off in my mind
The London-based customer, who asked not to be named, ordered flowers worth nearly £50 from the Bakker.com website on January 11 and was told that the flowers would arrive in about a month.
But when the customer decided to check up on their order, a recorded message at Bakker said: “Unfotunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, we cannot answer your call at this time.”
The customer said: “I placed the order in early January and then phoned Bakker up four or five days later when I was told that the flowers would be despatched in early February.
“The person I spoke to on the phone gave no indication that there were any problems and, in fact, they instantly got my order number up on their screen and said I would be receiving the flowers in early February.
“I had no indication that anything was wrong until last week when I found out that Bakker may be having some problems and that’s when alarm bells started going off in my mind.”
Bakker.com was founded in the UK just after World War II as an importer of flower bulbs grown in the Netherlands to sell on across the country’s growing gardening sector.
Speaking to the Free Press two years ago, managing director at the time Adrian Nind said: “We are the biggest horticultural company supplying directly to customers at home, with a database of over 15 million people.
“At our peak, we can pack over 40,000 parcels a day, with over 600 staff at our head office in Holland.”
Pinchbeck was the base for Bakker’s marketing operations, with a call centre staffed by 40 people who dealt with order and gardening queries from up to 1,000 customers a day.
But recent reports suggested that Bakker had held unsuccessful talks with potential investors and had stopped advertising in the UK.