Once upon a time …
Croix Chatelain, a family business where the 2nd and 3rd generations work side by side and are specialists in synthetic pottery and garden tools for over 50 years.
Our story began 50 years ago with a story of bad luck experienced by our family’s grandfather, Ernest Croix. A coffee wholesaler, unfortunately he is cheated by his business partner. Having sold all his assets and paid all his creditors, he is left without a cent and decides to change his line of business.
As plastic objects are becoming fashionable, he has the idea of canvassing French companies located in the “plastics valley” In fact, the Oyonnax region (in the Ain department in France) contains the greatest concentration of specialist plastics companies in Europe. His aim is to become a commercial agent.
Following several rejections, he finally comes across a promising opportunity at Lazzari Entreprises, a producer of artificial flowers. But Mr. Lazzari makes a deal with Mr. Croix. If he succeeds in convincing a Belgian client, who is a bad payer, to repay a substantial debt, he will become sole commercial agent for Belgium. So this is what Ernest Croix did, and the collaboration between the two companies continued to the nineties.
Ernest Croix realises the potential of artificial flowers and florist tools. Not only does he invent the plastic funeral wreath that is manufactured by the Lazzari company, but he also innovates by perfecting plastic pots with funeral flowers. At the time, there were only vases in cemeteries for the placement of natural or artificial flowers.
At the time, the artificial flowers were attached using plaster poured into the pot, and a piece of artificial soil (!) was stuck on top. Imagine the work involved! The whole family was called in to work on it in a garage in Etterbeek: the two sons and their mother who helped her husband throughout his entire career.
Finally, Mr. Croix rents a lorry and delivers the merchandise himself to customers.
At the start of the sixties, a significant collaboration is initiated with the the company Chatelain. This company manufactures plastic flower pots. But the first attempts are unsuccessful, the models do not appeal to a clientele that is used to more classical materials.
On the verge of bankruptcy, it bets its survival on a new product: a planter in the shape of a stone. Success is instantaneous and it sells in the thousands. Hot on its heels, the creation of the faux wood planter, with golden handles, will prove to be a customer favourite for years after.
Then come pots with water reserves, in increasing sizes and in the colours of the era: white, brown, beige, then orange, anthracite and black…
The collaboration between the two companies will continue until 2010.
Michel Croix joined the company in 1966.
In 1973 to meet the demand of certain client groups, the company extends its services and sets up a distribution organisation.
Pierre Croix joined the company in 1975.
The two brothers are sales representatives while Ernest Croix takes care of administration within the company.
Move to larger premises at Molenbeek-Saint-Jean.
In 1980, Croix Chatelain becomes a public limited company (S.A.). At the time, a minimum of 6 people were required to create an executive board: Ernest Croix, his wife and their two sons along with Mr. Chatelain and his commercial director who will be awarded representative voting rights.
At this time, Croix Chatelain is the leader in the distribution of pots with water reserves – best seller of the time.
To diversity its activities, the company takes over the stocks and some of the personnel from the client company Moriamé, a specialist in florist tools.
The development of the florist and gardening network brings a new clientele to Croix Chatelain. The gardening centres become new potential clients.
Five sales representatives visit their established clientele.
The market for artificial flowers in fabric exceeds plastic flowers.
In 1988, move to new stock rooms (6,000 m2) at Neder-Over-Hembeek.
Installation of a show room within the company that gets bigger year after year. This room will serve as a base for various exhibitions, in Heysel, Kortrijk, at Marche-En-Famenne.
From then on, our representatives bring the new Croix Chatelain catalogue to a clientele that increases in size every year. The number of representatives increases to 6.
4 delivery trucks now travel the routes.
In 1994, stock room increases in size (+ 3,000m2).
Buyback of the company EDPS company operating on the French market.
In 2003, Quentin Croix joins the company.
In 2007, it is the turn of Mathieu Croix.
In 2009, 1 million plastic pots sold on the Belgian market alone. Stock rooms extended once more (+ 3.000 m²).
The French market continues to develop but logistics and the back office are fully integrated with the rest of the business in Brussels. Direct delivery.
From that point on, logistics is managed by a third party company that provides excellent delivery times.
2013: development of the Dutch and Danish markets.
Our catalogue is available on the Internet !