“Never considered to do our linen ourselves, or any differently”
In 2012, Blycolin celebrates its 40th anniversary. One of our very first customers was the Wesseling Hotel in Dwingeloo. The family hotel that has its own place in hospitality history was very enthusiastic about our rental concepts and linen services right from the start. “And we still are”, say Mark and Annemarie Bergmans-Wessling, who have been in charge of one of the oldest family businesses in the Netherlands since 1996.
Hotel Wesseling borders the picturesque and intimate Brink (village green) in Dwingeloo. It has done so for decades. Or better yet, for centuries. The history of this hotel started all the way back in 1662(!) and it has always remained a hotel in the exact same spot. The hotel has also been in the family’s possession from the very first inn to the current accommodation. “We are not just one of the oldest hospitality companies in the Netherlands, we are also in the top ten of oldest family businesses”, Mark says enthusiastically.
That family feel is still present in the current hotel building that was built in 1915. Intimate, homely, warm, characteristic and still as hospitable and personally customer-oriented as when the first carriages with travelers arrived there. This certainly does not mean that the time has stood still in terms of contemporary convenience, facilities and modern management. On the contrary. As becoming to a family business, the current generation is innovating dynamically. “My father-in-law, Hendrik Wesseling, who took over the hotel from his father in 1956, already renovated and changed a lot. We continue that to meet and surpass the modern-day demands of our guests.”
Growth through entrepreneurship
The family business is also expanding its entrepreneurship. In 1991, the family bought the Grand Café Hotel De Brink. This hotel, as the name gives away, is right across the street from Hotel Wesseling on the Brink. The purchase proved to be a complimentary addition to Hotel Wesseling, with its delightful terrace, characteristic decoration to forget about time and ten modern hotel rooms. “We jokingly call the new hotel ‘the beach pavilion of the Dwingeloo Brink’”, Mark laughs. In 2005, the family business took its first steps across the Dwingeloo boundaries. Hotel Bieze in the megalith capital Borger was purchased as the third branch on the family tree. In the meantime, the business is also buzzing with other activities. “Yes”, Mark concurs. “Under the name Signature Cullinaire, we produce culinary regional products, such as mustard soup of local mustard. Of course, that soup is on the menu of our restaurant De Juffer van Batinghe, but we also sell it through local supermarkets. Besides this, we also have a cooking studio and we are active in the business market.”
The plan to start renting linen from Blycolin forty years ago originated with Mark’s mother-in-law. “Even then, she figured out that is was commercially more interesting to rent linen than purchasing and arranging everything ourselves. The ease of renting was an important issue in her decision. But knowing her, the price will also have had something to do with it. Apart from that, as the story goes, then regional manager Eelke Tuininga also put his oar in to have her as one of the first Blycolin customers. From the very first deliveries up until today she has and we have never considered to manage our linens differently, or to do it ourselves. It takes too much time and effort to do it at least as well as Blycolin. Also, the issue of costs weighs just as heavily now as it did for my mother-in-law. By cooperating with Blycolin, we control the costs variably and we can decrease them.”