Richard Harms Former Owner of Countryside Flower Shop, Nursery, Garden Center
After 47 years of ownership, Richard Harms and James Riedl have announced the sale of Countryside Flower Shop, Nursery in Crystal Lake, Illinois, effective September sixteenth. The new owners of the legendary business are now Brent Troost and Johannes Pieterse (JP), two very experienced and highly accomplished horticulturists. With age and health concerns beginning to impact their lives, both Harms and Riedl saw the writing on the wall. “After 47 years in business, we realized it was time to back off from the day-to-day pressures of running the business.”, stated Harms. “When we were approached by Brent and JP through a business broker, we found it to be the perfect opportunity to carry on the history of Countryside.” Brent and JP – as they would like to be called – are no strangers to the nursery industry. Each hold an impressive resume of experience as professional greenhouse operators and senior growers for large scale producers such as Proven Winners. Both began their careers in the industry at a very young age. Brent worked for a big box garden center at the age of 15 before heading off to Michigan State University for his degree in horticulture. JP grew up in the Netherlands and after working with his family’s cut rose greenhouse, started his own greenhouse operation producing 10 million stems annually. Both continued their successful careers, building and strengthening their experience and reputation along the way.
“We’re honored to carry on the legacy, and to continue the amazing work which has been done already with the existing team. We’ve been enjoying getting to know them.”, stated JP. When asked why they selected Countryside, JP stated, “We’ve known about the business for a while. Countryside has been an active leader in numerous industry associations. So, when we learned about a possible purchase opportunity, we reached out to Richard.”
Operations will continue as usual with Brent and JP maintaining the same workforce, products, and service. The future holds great opportunities, not just for employees, but for their customers as well. Together it’s a safe bet that they will “Cultivate the Future of Countryside”.
Richard's accomplishments include:
Countryside Top 100 Garden Center in the U.S.
Co-Chair of Crystal Lake Car Nights for nine years
Past President of Illinois Green Industry Association
Past President of Crystal Lake Main Street (twice)
Past Chamber Board of Directors Member
Ambassador since 2005 (Chair 2008-2009)
Robert O. Covey Business of the Year 2004
Presidential Award of Excellence 2010
Pride in Crystal Lake Award (PICA) 2010
Crystal Lake Downtown/Main Street (Past Chair)
Independence Day Parade Grand Marshal 2013
GEM Leadership Award 2016
When not at work, Richard enjoys fishing, golf, and gardening.