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Holland Ridge Farms blooms with new private wireless network

  • Six years ago, a native of Holland and third-generation tulip grower named Casey Jansen, Sr., bought 300 acres of rural farmland in south central New Jersey. In founding Holland Ridge Farms, Jansen—together with his son Casey Jansen, Jr.—sought to realize his dream of bringing the world-renowned beauty of Holland's tulips to a sun-kissed corner of the United States. In addition to offering you-pick flowers, photo ops, hay rides and souvenirs, Holland Ridge Farms now welcomes more than 300,000 visitors per year. Jansen, Jr. recalled:

    "In 2018, we started Holland Ridge Farms, very small, a couple of acres of tulips. The turnout was excellent, tremendous, honestly. And from that point on, we just fast tracked forward making it what it is today."

    During its twin marquee events that bookend the annual growing season—the three-week U-Pick Tulips event in the spring and the four-week U-Pick Sunflowers in the fall—Holland Ridge Farms attracts more than 20,000 visitors per day to its 8-million-flower farm. Growing pains began to dampen the young company's remarkable success, however, as network performance challenges impacted sales and hampered the customer experience.

    • Network performance challenges constrain a flourishing family business

    • Holland Ridge Farms has become known as one of the best photo hotspots in all of New Jersey, thanks in large part to social media. "It's extremely important that my customers post their selfies on social media while they're here because they're almost another arm of my marketing team," explained Casey Jansen, Jr., President of Holland Ridge Farms. "I need them to share those pictures, so other people ask, 'Hey, where did you take those pictures?'"

      As a massive influx of people and their cellular devices descended on the farm for each day of the U-Pick Tulips and U-Pick Sunflowers events, the local public cellular wireless network began to buckle. Guests had trouble entering the premises as ticketing systems began taking longer to scan them in. The company's point of sale (POS) systems, which relied on wireless connectivity to complete transactions, also started to lag. Employees stood by helpless, unable to promptly ring up purchases. "We had hundreds of people waiting to check out their flowers ready to throw them on the floor and say, 'Forget it. We're leaving, and we're never coming back,'" said Patrick Marini, Creative Manager of Holland Ridge Farms.

      "That was an awful sight to see. Our employees work so hard throughout the entire year to make sure these flowers look pristine. To see the product that we've created just discarded on the floor because of the issues we were having at checkout was just heartbreaking for us all," he added. Holland Ridge Farms lost about $10,000 per day from abandoned purchases during these crucial revenue-generating spring and fall flower festivals.

      Brand reputation began to suffer, too. Because of the long lines from a lagging POS system, guests were sharing negative online reviews instead of posting selfies in front of vivid rows of breathtaking tulips. What had been one of Holland Ridge Farms' greatest assets—word-of-mouth marketing—was rapidly turning into a liability.

    • Casey Jansen, Jr., President of Holland Ridge Farms

    • Beginning quotation mark  We have our own private network, and my worries are pretty much gone.”

      Casey Jansen, Jr., President of Holland Ridge Farms

    • A private wireless network solution nips growing pains in the bud

    • After exploring a few different options, Verizon proposed a new solution for Holland Ridge Farms: a private wireless network delivered via its partner, Celona. "Private wireless is a new technology... that delivers connectivity and reliance to businesses that have never had it before," explained Dan Roman, Associate Director of Private Wireless at Verizon. With this new technology, Verizon was able to offer Holland Ridge Farms "their own dedicated cellular network to run any key applications and deliver a consistent level of performance that they can control."

      When first presented with the idea of a private wireless network, Jansen, Jr. was intrigued. "Verizon's proposal was exciting and impressive at the same time. 'This is my own network that no one else can be on,' I thought. I kind of bragged about it, telling everyone, 'We're getting our own Verizon network on the farm.' It's extremely secure. It's just for us.”

      By blanketing Holland Ridge Farms' rural estate with secure, high-speed, low-latency 4G network connectivity, Verizon was able to address the wireless connectivity challenges that had initially stunted the company's growth. The private wireless network was also customizable. It was tailored to support Holland Ridge Farms' growing requirements as the company continued to thrive, and to enable Jansen's vision of a connected farm without wires.

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    • Holland Ridge Farms sees results blossom for U-Pick Tulips events and beyond

    • There was no time to lose. Holland Ridge Farms couldn't afford any more network failures with another make-or-break flower festival approaching. "We were coming extremely close to the opening of our U-Pick Tulips event," said Jansen. "Within two weeks' time of me signing, Verizon finished installing our new private wireless network." Just in time for opening day.

      The U-Pick Tulips was a resounding success. All POS systems and ticket scanners across the farm had full bars. With the private wireless network in place, Holland Ridge Farms reduced the time required to make a purchase from 45 seconds to just a handful of seconds. As a result, the company saw an uptick in sales and better social media word of mouth once more.

      "We're getting positive reviews. We're getting repeat customers. People are spending more money because they're not waiting in line during a hot day holding a heavy bucket of flowers. They're going straight through, they're checking out, they're going back to their cars, and they're leaving happy," added Marini.

      Holland Ridge Farms can now flourish again. The company is poised for growth as it explores a potential expansion of the private network to cover a massive greenhouse, introduces a new winter event, as well as fulfills its vision to use the farm as a venue for weddings and private events. In addition to serving as a true destination for flower lovers, this multi-generational family business can now transform into a connected farm. Summing up his satisfaction with the solution Verizon has delivered, Jansen said, "We have our own private network, and my worries are pretty much gone."

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    • Verizon Private Wireless Network solutions are ideal for outdoor venues because they are secure, scalable, and can be deployed quickly.

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