Fokke Gnodde spent two decades as director of Covatuin - the birth place of Intratuin, Europatuin and Gardencentre Spectrum. Gnodde was one of the most important engineers of an industry that developed during the early years of garden centres into a recognizable and powerful retail sector.
Fokke Gnodde, according to his wife Els, remained cheerfully and bright until the end. He was happy with the pleasures and all the beautiful things that life had given him. Until the end he bore his illness with optimism. Fokke, and Els Gnodde were married for 51 years and had one daughter and two sons.
The value that Fokke Gnodde brought to the industry may be easily underestimated. In a farewell interview in 1999 he looked back on his twenty years in the garden industry. Then said: "I accompanied the cubs in their first years. But now we are a mature club with retail sales of 1.2 billion guilders."
Gnodde joined in 1980 as the frontman of a small group of about ten garden centres who wanted to work together to create a commercial benefit. On his retirement twenty years later that first club created three powerful and self-conscious retail organisations. Then, at 63 he left the industry foreseeing that there were big changes ahead. He predicted: "The future will be more colourful and diverse then we have seen so far." - He was right!
Fokke Gnodde was furthermore instrumental in the set-up and development of the UK HART buying and marketing group and was Chairman for many years as well as the European umbrella organisation SESACO.*
With the demise of Fokke Gnodde the industry not only loses a man of great distinction, but also an outstanding man, legendary for his booming laugh, his eloquence and his talent for enjoying life.
Fokke Gnodde was 76 years old and was buried on Monday, July 29th in Alphen aan den Rijn, Holland.
Translated by Eimert de Graaff from an article in the Dutch trade magazine ‘Tuinzaken’.
*This paragraph was added by Eimert.