When it comes to the day to day decisions of an independent family owned company, Belden understands.  Belden is a family-owned and operated company that has been in the growing business since 1916.

In 1965 John R. Johnson a second generation grower and principal of the JR Johnson Supply Company started investing in molds and rented machine time to make plastic pots for the grower industry.  Belden moved to its existing location in 1972 and purchased their first machine.  As John R. Johnson describes, “the first machine was an education in manufacturing and investing, it wasn’t until we had the sixth machine on the floor, before we began to make money on our investment into the industry”.

Belden has never forgotten that they were growers and retailers first.  They have continued to improve designs using their growing knowledge into every container they offer.  This gives growers and consumers that choose Belden an advantage in the marketplace.


Bradley R. Johnson

Bradley R. Johnson  is operating as Belden Plastics Inc. CEO, he is also the architect of its’ present digital strategy serving both Belden Plastics and the Independent Garden Center Industry (“IGC”) and contiues to oversee the day to day operations of the company.

In his extended career, Mr. Johnson has had success building start-up businesses  in the financial & healthcare industry, while playing a key role in the family’s business, Belden Plastics Inc.  In January 1980 Mr. Johnson purchased a seat in the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), then in February of that year he was  admitted as an equity member at a time when the CME was growing rapidly. 

Bradley R. Johnson was also an entrepreneur in the field of education. He was the funding source and a founding partner of Trading Behavior Dynamics, Inc., which started on his one-year anniversary on the floor.    He became the founder and majority owner of Homeland Mortgage Co.   Homeland Mortgage became the 13th largest residential lender in Chicago. 


In 1991 Brad became the co-founder and President of a highly successful managed care firm, Health Marketing, Inc. (HMI)

He developed a new non-managed PPO model of managed health care, which was implemented in the Midwest.   During his almost 10-year tenure as President of HMI Mr. Johnson led the development of all strategy and negotiations of multiple health care payor sponsored networks.  The unique programs kept evolving creating tremendous vendor / customer loyalty.  Mr. Johnson attributes Health Marketing's success due to the level of savings, that had never been seen before, in exchange for moving market share in the healthcare industry.



John R. Johnson, Sr.

Born 1922, & married his wife Pearl in 1943.  All three siblings entered the US Navy during World War II, where he was a flight instructor at the instrument flight instructor school in Atlanta Georgia. 

After the war, in 1946 Mr. Johnson, who is known to all as John R, assumed control of the family’s growing business.  All three of his children have taken control of the family business over the years under his watchful stewardship, which continues to this day.

John R. was active in 1948 starting and serving in the first Commercial Flower Grower Association in Minnesota.

In the 50’s he was Treasurer and active in starting United Minnesota Horticulture.  They successfully lobbied the President of the University of Minnesota and the state legislator for a new horticulture building and greenhouses.  Simultaneously, they contacted career councilors at the high schools to encourage students to enter the field of horticulture.

In 1967, John R. became President of the Minnesota Florist Association, which he expanded into the North Central Florist Association serving the whole Midwest area.  During his tenure the organization was very active in funding industry-wide advertising and multiple education programs for the Floral Design and Growing industries. 

Around 1970, John R started the Johnson Research Fund.  He started the fund by adding a .25% fee to customer’s invoices and then matched that amount personally.  The funds were used for research on greenhouse management and herbaceous plant materials and scholarships at the horticulture department in the University of Minnesota.  This fund has been transferred to the MNLA and has grown substantially with the endowment standing at $500,000.  About half that amount is attributed to John R and his customers.

On March 28 1985, John R. was inducted into the Pi Alpha Xi, National Honor Society in Horticulture for his outstanding achievements and contributions in the field of Floriculture in the United States.

In 2005 the MNLA, Minnesota Nurseryman & Landscape Association awarded John R Man of the Year and inducted into their Hall of Fame.