Founded in 1958 by Piet Bokelaar, Plastic Modern BV started out as a small company with a workforce of 3 employees based in a wooden shed in Naaldwijk. Bokelaar’s very first order came from a high-profile customer, Royal Dutch Shell, setting his business in motion and enabling him to pay for the first machines. Business was good in those days. Orders from Shell, as well as wholesale giant Stokvis Rotterdam and numerous other companies, meant the company soon needed larger premises in Naaldwijk. The company initially relocated to an interconnected row of garages, but operations soon outgrew this space as well. However, land for industrial purposes was scarce and expensive in the local area, and it was also hard to find staff. A tip from a customer based in Joure made Piet Bokelaar decide to relocate the entire business to Heerenveen in Friesland province. There was plenty of space there, building land was cheap, and it was easy to recruit staff.
The then mayor of Heerenveen opened the new production premises in July 1962. At the time, Plastic Modern BV was the second largest production company in Heerenveen-Zuid, after bicycle maker Batavus. Over the years that followed, the company grew to approximately 25 employees. The building was extended twice to accommodate the company’s growth.
But it was not all success. The oil crisis in the early 1970s led to a jittery market. One of Plastic Modern BV’s larger customers was Hoogezand-based Atlanta. After extensive talks, Atlanta acquired Plastic Modern BV on 1 January 1974. Over the subsequent period, Piet Bokelaar’s son, Jan Bokelaar, was a commercial assistant at the company for 13 years. It was a period with both ups and downs, and Atlanta ultimately decided to sell Plastic Modern.
This gave Jan Bokelaar the opportunity to acquire Plastic Modern through a management buy-out on 1 January 1987. Following the buy-out, business was good again as sales grew considerably; Plastic Modern decided to branch out and start producing paper-laminated folders alongside its PVC production. As a result, the company needed more space again. The company’s site was extended by approx. 900m2.
From the year 2008 onwards, Plastic Modern continued through the economic crisis. Many companies in the graphics industry went out of business. They were difficult times. Plastic Modern, too, saw its production volumes fall due to digitalisation. But thanks to good management, Plastic Modern managed to stay afloat. After the crisis, the company stabilised.
On 1 January 2016, Plastic Modern was taken over by Josina van der Velde. In the following, she we will introduce herself in her own words:
My name is Josina van der Velde, I am 33 years old and I live in the Weststellingwerf municipality. I have been working at Plastic Modern B.V. since 2007. From the moment I started working here, the company has won its way into my heart. The great thing about this company is that we have our very own factory, and we make a product that is 100% Dutch, which is really special to me. We can custom-develop products to our customers’ own specifications. And having our own proprietary production unit means lines of communication are short and we can respond to changes quickly to provide every customer the best possible service. Combining passion for the profession with a creative mindset, my expert team and I will see to it that your product is made to the highest standards and with the greatest possible care. Do you have an idea for a design and want to run it by someone? I would be more than happy to visit you for a no-obligation meeting to hear what you have in mind. We will undoubtedly be able to find one or more options over a cup of coffee. And this will ultimately lead to the development of your unique presentation product or filing solution. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
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