Join us as we a look back at our Lifetime Achievement Award alumni of the past 25 years. These outstanding individuals have truly left an indelible mark on Niagara and have inspired countless other entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses in Niagara.
Over the last 24 years, NEYA has inducted 33 entrepreneurs into our Hall of Fame by bestowing them with this prestigious recognition. Click here to see a complete list of our Lifetime Achievement Alumni and join us on March 1, 2019 as we bestow a new group of deserving entrepreneurs with this honour at our 25th Anniversary Awards Gala at the Fallsview Casino Resort.
Tickets for the 25th annual Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Gala to be held March 1, 2019 at the Fallsview Casino Resort are now on sale. Tickets are limited, so order early!
In 1950, Adriaan (Andy) Olsthoorn travelled from Holland to Canada with both a vision and a passion to create his own greenhouse operation. Andy found work wherever he could as a labourer, picking tobacco, and mining whatever it took to raise the money he needed to realize his dream.
Persistent, determined and supported by a loving wife, Rita, Andy started Lakeshore Produce, along with some friends from De Lier. Realizing the potential of the vast US market, in 1964, Andy began knocking on doors of major supermarket buyers.
Over time, the flower business evolved with Andy at the forefront of emerging markets. As consumer demand shifted from holidays to year-round purchases, Andy expanded his wholesale flower operation. He brought on additional growers to help meet the increasing demand for flowers and vegetables, as well.
At peak season, Lakeshore Inc. employs 400 people and contracts with over 100 growers throughout Southern Ontario. Lakeshore Inc. has grown to become the largest of its kind in Canada with four divisions now comprising the corporation: Floral Lake, Lakeshore Produce, Lakeshore 2 and Lakeshore 3 (in South Carolina). In 1985, Andy sold Lakeshore Inc. to his sons, Neil and Jim, and set his sights on a new challenge. Together with his Dutch partners, he built St. David’s Hydroponics’ first plant. In 1996, he built the second plant in Vineland, bringing total production to over one million square feet of hydroponic peppers. To Andy, a handshake was golden. He loved “the art of the deal”. As Niagara’s pioneer of the greenhouse industry, Andy’s deals have lead to great prosperity. Today, the greenhouse industry is one of the region’s fastest growing and largest industries. Andy Olsthoorn died on December 8, 1998. Andy and Rita have five children and nine grandchildren. In all of them, Andy’s entrepreneurial spirit is thriving.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to enterprising entrepreneurs in our community who have significantly impacted the development of economic ventures in Niagara. Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients are individuals who have spent several decades of their lives shaping Niagara, building a legacy, and contributing positively to our community. Save the date and join us on March 1, 2019 for NEYA’s 25th Anniversary Awards Gala.