29 July 2016

History

Hoogendoorn’s Joinery Business

The history of our company takes us back to 1961, to Number 10 Boterstraat in Werkendam, the Netherlands, where Cees Hoogendoorn founded his one-man business at the age of twenty-one.

In a small shed measuring some 200m2, which also housed an aviary, he did his first joinery jobs for external building projects, but as a member of bargee’s family, Cees Hoogendoorn was quickly involved in the production of deck hatches for inland vessels. Once on board, Hoogendoorn soon found himself doing all sorts of jobs, including building wheelhouses and supply the entire joinery work for family cabins.

In those days, they had a different way of doing things. A skilled professional would simply discuss what was needed with the bargees in his kitchen or the bargee’s wheelhouse and make sketch on the kitchen notice board, the plans would be approved as they drank coffee and soon after, the same man and his mate would arrive to knock it all together. Life was pleasant and Hoogendoorn met a great many bargees, gradually expanding his network and his staff, so before long the time was ripe for a new and larger site.

Making fast

Hoogendoorn interieuwbouw en maritiemIn 1972, the work and some ten employees moved to a new location, a former shipyard on Biesboshaven Noord, with a house on site for the family. The location of the harbour, with mooring places for inland vessels, was extremely practical and as the site of the fitting was only a short walk from the workshop, one newly constructed ship soon followed another to be fitted out by Hoogendoorn and his team, which, following steady growth, was now composed of about 25 workers.

In those days, before computers were commonplace, much of the quality of the finished product depended on the skills of the craftsman. These experienced carpenters and painters were passionate about their trade and taught newcomers carefully, passing down their expertise and skills.

Growth

By now, both the business and the Hoogendoorn family had grown: Mum and Dad Hoogendoorn were blessed with seven children, of which all four lads become enterprising businessmen. One of the sons, Dick, showed promise as a potential successor to the business, but first had to learn the ropes before he could take over. Meanwhile, another move was necessary and new premises were fitted out on Bruningstraat, where some 30 employees continued the work energetically from 1980 to 1988.

However, there were no opportunities for mooring, so the work was transferred to our current premises on Beatrixhaven on 28 May 1988. Here, the company had ample room to expand, and now (in 2015), after being restructured four times, our business premises measure approximately 9,200m2.

One instance of rebuilding was necessary after a fire spread through the building on 3 April 2008, damaging the recently acquired warehouse and leaving it almost completely destroyed.

A new man at the helm

Dick Hoogendoorn, the present director/owner, took the over the company in 1992 and with Dick at the helm, it continued to grow steadily. At present, Hoogendoorn employs more than 130 people. As continuity is our most important aim, Hoogendoorn applies straightforward but effective principles that are recognised and appreciated by our clients. We fulfil our agreements precisely, we have a “can-do” mentality and we deliver to the letter what we promise, all aspects we think are obvious, and that makes Hoogendoorn a solid, reliable partner for every conceivable project.

“Honesty is the best policy”, as we’ve been saying here at Hoogendoorn for more than fifty years!

Fitting-Out

rsz_20160120_125248_resizedIn 2006, as the turnover in maritime joinery was in danger of stagnating, we decided to add a new branch of activity to our current operations and accordingly, we set up the Fitting-Out Division.

Though luckily the drop in turnover in the maritime operations never happened, the Fitting-Out Division became an important unit of the company and now represents around 40 to 45 per cent of the overall turnover. Going against the tide of declining economic activity, these operations are expanding with projects for domestic and international clients.

The future

It looks as if another member of this enterprising family will lead this company: two sons of the current owner, Stefan and Corné, are all set to take over the business when the time comes, and they are both attending practical training in the field so valued by this company.