VanKampen's Greenhouses sold to The Cassidy Group
'I'm trusting my family members to protect the legacy of VanKampen's'
After 60 years of business in Charlottetown, VanKampen's Greenhouses — an institution on the Island — has been sold to The Cassidy Group.
The business changed hands officially on Dec. 1, said Mike Cassidy.
The Cassidy Group is comprised of T3 Transit, Coach Atlantic Group, Maritime Bus and Cassidy Farms.
"We were the perfect match. The Cassidy Group and the VanKampens — it came together very well. But it was a 10-month process," Cassidy said.
Until now, the business was owned and operated by brothers Charlie and Billy VanKampen, the sons of the founder.
Cassidy said the brothers wanted to retire but had no one in the family to take it over.
Cassidy also said his early years spent on farms on the Island served as motivation to take the business over.
Plans for 2019
"When I was younger I was on the Riley Farms just north of Kensington. So I've always had that farming in my veins," he said.
Cassidy hopes to keep all year-round staff on board and hire between 40 and 50 seasonal workers this spring.
The new owner also said it's his hope to preserve the business as is — both the brand and the operation.
"I'm trusting my family members to protect the legacy of VanKampen's and to make sure we have plants, we have vegetables, we have new product ideas and we're here to stay," he said.
Some of those products will be new berry crops — specifically haskap and golden berries.
The Cassidy Group's plan is to grow those berries in Charlottetown for wholesale.
As for the former owners — both of them have agreed to stay on for the 2019 growing season.
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With files from Nicole Williams