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Edmonton Dutch deli closes doors for good after 53 years

Vanís a community institution

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

EDMONTON, Alberta Ė One of the oldest Dutch deli and import stores in Canada, an institution in Edmonton, has closed its doors for good after 53 years. Vanís Deli, originally known as Vanís Meats Supply, was started by Dutch emigrant butcher and entrepreneur Jan Vandervelde, one year after arriving from Groningen. Later, his son Jake continued the local retail business while Vandervelde Sr. supplied a wholesale line of sausages and meat cuts to stores throughout much of western Canada.

Vandervelde Jr., who was with the family business from the beginning, admits that he and his wife Tineke (van Sloten) very much will miss their customers and suppliers, and being a hub in the areaís Dutch community. The coupleís siblings, children and some of the grandchildren all worked at the store at one time or other; four generations in all have contributed to Vanís staying power.

The Vanderveldes several times negotiated with interested third parties but the deals never took effect and eventually they sold their building without the business. The closure leaves Edmonton with two other stores that cater a line of Dutch deli products and groceries to the community. Benís Meats & Deli (owned by the Van Leeuwen family but founded by their inlaws, the Van Soests) in another part of the city is a traditional butcher shop with a well-stocked Dutch section while Sherbrooke Bakery and Deli elswhere in Edmonton offers fresh bakery products with a blend of Dutch deli and groceries. Various communities in Alberta boast outlets with Dutch products as well, including two hardware stores which combine nails and screws with selling everything from dropjes to chocolate sprinkles.

Sherbrooke Bakery currently is undergoing an ownership change with recent Dutch immigrant Siebe Koopman, a graduate of a vocation school for bakers, set to take over the business on September 1. Koopman who actually was born in Neerlandia, a Dutch immigrant community northwest of Edmonton, plans to stock a full line of Dutch deli and groceries in his bakery.