Last Saturday, an outstanding trader said goodbye to the sector. After a career of nearly 51 years, Toon van Noort ended his active career with the company named after him, Tovano. For more than 65 years, Tovano has been active with a wide range of nuts, subtropical fruits and seeds. 

Toon and his wife.

The company was founded by Toon’s father in 1950. He started trading nuts, peanuts and assorted nuts and raisins. The business gradually grew from small beginnings. Toon Jr started helping his father when he was 14 years old. Four years later he officially joined the company, and in 1977 the activities officially continued under the Tovano name, from Rijswijk.

Toon and successor Richard Strijbis.

In 2001 Tovano moved to its current location in Maasdijk, where the business continued growing in the various market segments in which Tovano is still active: ambulatory, fresh produce wholesalers, fresh produce exporters, retail, catering bulk, industry and trade, both domestic and international.

A pleasant crowd.

Toon officially says goodbye to Tovano to enjoy his well-earned retirement as of 1 January, and leadership of the company will pass to Richard Strijbis. Richard has been active in the ‘nuts, subtropical fruits and seeds business’ for 24 years already, the last 11 of which were with Tovano. He is therefore certainly no stranger, and under his leadership, Tovano will be further positioned as a quality supplier.

Joke Kras, Dirian Boekhout, Rien (MLS) van Geest with his girlfriend and René van Geest.
Last Saturday 10 December, Toon had his farewell party for family and friends in the Restaurant Allemansgeest in Voorschoten, and various people from the fresh produce sector were also present. After a word of welcome from new manager Richard Strijbis, and a life story by Toon Jr, Toon was praised as well. “In some ways, Toon was far ahead of his time. Super-markets now all care about social responsibility but Toon has been looking after his environment and fellow men for decades already. The same is true for sustainability. Toon has always maintained the principle ‘if it cannot be shared, it cannot be multiplied either.’”

Toon Junior and Senior

He then characterised Toon in a way recognisable to everyone who knows the nut trader. “Toon is an emotional bouncing ball, he cannot bear injustice, he wears his heart on his sleeve which is not always convenient when the NVWA visits …, his bark is worse than his bite, he is a trader through and through, but most of all: he is a colourful people’s person. And that makes him the only Mister Tovano!”

Ton Stolk and his wife.

Looije Piet with the singer of the evening.