Karel van Eerd Obituary, Death – Karel van Eerd passes away . Karel van Eerd, the founder of Jumbo Supermarkets and our primary sponsor, passed away today at the age of 84, much to our deepest sorrow. Mr. Van Eerd was the driving force behind the successful partnership that has existed for a long time between Jumbo and Team Jumbo-Visma. Karel van Eerd was only eighteen years old when he took over day-to-day operations of the business that belonged to his father, Frits. It turned out that he was a perfect fit for a career in the grocery store business. Under his direction, the company experienced rapid growth. Van Eerd purchased the Jumbo moniker from a competitor in the business world almost forty years ago, in 1983. In addition to that, he was given control of the accompanying store formula. An A-brand that began with just three Jumbo stores in the province of Brabant has grown to encompass roughly 700 locations across the Netherlands and nearly 30 throughout Flanders.
Karel van Eerd was honored with a promotion to the rank of officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau in 2007, the same year he marked his half-century anniversary with Jumbo.
Van Eerd was a born entrepreneur. He had a vivid imagination, was not afraid of taking risks, and could recognize opportunities. In addition to that, he exhibited behavior and thinking that was centered on the customer. Mr. Van Eerd desired for his company to excel and come out on top together. And, as if that weren’t enough, he was also an avid sports lover. Since 2014, Jumbo has served as the primary sponsor of both our cycling and skating teams. It was an important contribution on his part. On other times, he joined us for the bicycle races that we attended. During the 2017 and 2018 editions of the Giro d’Italia, he became an inseparable member of the team. He did not skip a stage and spent a significant amount of time conversing and contemplating with everyone else. “We are profoundly saddened by the news that Karel has died away,” said Richard Plugge, director of Team Jumbo-Visma. “We will miss him very much.
” Karel was the cornerstone of our long-term relationship and the catalyst for our development of emerging talent. He served in both of these capacities admirably. There’s a good reason why we call our in-house education and development program the Karel van Eerd Academy. Over the course of their time with the team, Karel and his wife Kitty, as well as my wife and I, became good friends with the group. Because of his vast experience, he was able to offer a great deal of advice that was both helpful and insightful. He maintained an insatiable curiosity in discovering anything and everything there was to know about our cycling team, and he offered suggestions for how the organization should be managed. Directly to the point, free of any sidetracks or distractions, and offering sincere counsel. Naturally, it was a great experience to sit down with Karel, have a beer, and talk about life.
We are indebted to Karel for all that he has done for us and all that he has taught us. Because of his aspiration to be the best in the world and his credo that “Youth has the future,” he has been and continues to be an inspiration to us. We will remember him fondly and extend our condolences to his wife Kitty, his children Colette, Frits, and Monique, as well as the rest of his family, friends, and fellow Jumborians. We want them to know that we are thinking of them and wishing them the best.