20422 Nissouri Rd.
Thorndale, ON
N0M 2P0 Get directions to Heeman's.
Monday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tuesday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wednesday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Bill & Susan Inducted into Hall of Fame

It’s our honour to announce that Bill & Susan Heeman were inducted into Middlesex County’s Agriculture Hall of Fame, class of 2019! Their life’s work and commitment to our community will now be remembered for years to come. Both very humble people, this recognition would likely come as a shock to my grandparents, but we can’t think of a more fitting recognition to celebrate two lives spent dedicated to hard work and perseverance.

Our deepest thanks to the nominating committee for bestowing this great honour on Bill & Susan and giving them a place on the Hall of Fame (that can be found inside the AgriPlex at Western Fair District).

If you’d like to learn a bit more about our founders, we’ve included the transcript from their background that was read at their induction ceremony. They are a beautiful story of building something from nothing with the power of hard work, dedication and a commitment to family. We’re so proud of both of them!

Induction Ceremony Background

Known as Bill & Susan, this couple immigrated from the Netherlands in 1958 to settle in Ontario, with Bill looking to fill a mechanic position. When they arrived, the opportunity was gone and they moved around rural Ontario following work. They ended up settling east of London where they bought a 25 acres farm in 1963. What began as a “half acre patch” of strawberries on Nissouri Road soon grew to five acres, and continued to expand for the next several years.  As the operation grew so did the innovative ideas, one of which was a piece of equipment designed so that berries could be picked while workers were lying on their stomach, instead of the hours of back-bending work. In the late 1970s, Bill used ground source heat pumps, being the first in Ontario to do so. In the early 1980s, his fabrications of existing technologies included his flooding benches for watering plants, which are still used today. This technology is a gold standard for plant care and water conservation in preventing fertilizer leaching into the watershed. A greenhouse was added for growing tomatoes in the 1970s; which then transitioned into wholesale bedding plants and later into retail. By 1995 Heeman’s had strawberries, raspberries, shrubbery and garden plants.  In 1997 the operation underwent a major expansion adding 11,000 square feet of greenhouse space.  Now, the two successive generations of the Heeman family has over 400 acres of cash crop, 70 acres of strawberries, 4 acres of raspberries, and 150,000 square feet encompassing a garden center and greenhouses.

Bill and Susan continually strived to meet the needs of their customers, as well as providing mentorship to other local producers.  They were committed to sharing their knowledge and passion for plants and innovative ways to develop their own business, with a vision for the success of the industry. Their desire to “always do better”, provide exceptional customer service because “people should never have to wait to give you their money” and that in order to ensure you have the “best quality and the best price, you have to grow it yourself,” he would say.

In their later years, the couple “slowed down a little bit,” but would often sit on the porch or in the business’s coffee shop “holding court” with old friends. Heeman’s have received many awards; they are five-time winners of “Best Garden Centre” in London, and have been recognized three times with a regional Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation. At the prestigious London Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Awards, Heeman’s were selected as the inaugural Agri-Business of the Year Award in 2016, and won the Innovation Award in 2017.  Family members believe that all of these achievements are attributed to Bill & Susan’s vision, principles and years of hard work.  Shortly after receiving the London Chamber of Commerce award in 2017, Bill passed away.  Earlier this year, soon after the 2019 Inductees were announced, Susan also left us.

Back to Top