Tuesday, 1 October, sees the official start of Marcel van der Pluijm's business, Feeling Fresh. "With it, I will be doing what I love best. Selling vegetables with passion," says Marcel. In doing so, he is following in the footsteps of his forefathers.
"In the 1920s, my great-grandfather sold citrus and bananas in the center of Rotterdam. Later, my grandfather, Jacobus (Koos) and grandmother, Corrie van der Pluijm, had their own stall in and around the city. My father, Andre, and his brother, Cor, joined their parents at a young age. Life was good and difficult, all at once. Long working hours in all kinds of weather conditions make their lives challenging," says Marcel.
"From the early 80s, I helped my father load the trucks and clear the trash. Later, I helped my family sell the nicest fruit and vegetables you could find in markets in Rotterdam, Hoogvliet, and Maassluis. I remember that many of my, and my brother, Remco's, friends would help our family on weekends and during the holidays. It was a wonderful, happy time," recalls Marcel.
"My grandmother worked at the market until she was 74. She had her first stroke early one morning on the way to work. Sadly, my father passed away in 2010, at the age of 66. I am grateful he was still alive when I started my career at Minnaar Holland in 1993 and later at The Greenery. He was my mentor, as well as my hero. I know he was proud of the fact that I sold fruit and vegetables all over the world."
"Thanks to my Dad, I learned never to give up. That is the Rotterdam mentality. My family inspired me to take the next step in my career. I started my own business in October 2018. In a sense, my father, his brother, and my grandparents are the true founders of Feeling Fresh. I am sure my Dad is watching over me," concludes Marcel.