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New owners re-open Dutch specialty store to the sounds of rare street organ

Dutch treats popular with visitors

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill Immigration Features History Dutch import groceries, delicatessen and household articles have been readily available in Chilliwack since the late 1950s. With the re-opening by new owners of an existing store as Holland Shopping Centre, the variety and product range increases significantly. The grand opening had a decidedly Dutch flavour. Holland Shopping Centre owner Tako Slump welcomed the Consul General of the Netherlands, Mr. J.M. Corijn, and Mr. John Jansen, a former mayor of Chilliwack. The official party, in a carriage drawn by a span of Friesian horses. Former owner Herman Wilbrink and long-time customers Mr. & Mrs. L.Sprangers, unveiled the store's new sign. Mr. Corijn and Mr. Jansen declared the store opened as they cut the ribbon with a pair of hedge shears. A crowd of onlookers, which already had gathered when the carriage pulled up, was entertained by a Dutch street organ, one of only three in all of Western Canada. Some volunteers at the store had dressed in traditional Dutch costumes, including one outfitted in a rare Staphorst dress. In addition to the regular fare at the store, management used the special day to bring a sense of Dutch traditions and culture to the community. Visitors were treated to samples of dollar-sized pancakes, called ‘poffertjes,’ a snack called ‘bitterballen’ and, of course, fresh salted herring. Bitterballen and a range of herring products are part of the store’s product line. Holland Shopping Centre was founded in 1958 and is located in New Westminster where it sells a wide range of Dutch import products to customers from far and wide. The company’s new Young Street location in Chilliwack carries the same range, including more than 30 varieties of (mainly) Dutch cheeses. The meat counter similarly has a wide variety of authentic Dutch meats and sausages. The store also offers a cheese and meat platter service. In addition, there will be a licorice display of more than 80 different shapes and tastes, ranging from sweet to triple salt. Delft Blue pottery and earthenware is the anchor of the store’s extensive giftware and Dutch household section. Chilliwack's first Dutch import store also opened in 1958, then owned by immigrant couple Jan and Tannetje Jansen, the parents of former mayor and former BC Finance Minister John Jansen. Their store was located at the east end of the Five Corners, on East Yale, when the Jansens sold the store in the late 1960s. Earlier this Summer (in 2002), the Slump family bought Four Oaks Deli & Meats from Herman and Gerda Wilbrink, who since retired. The Wilbrinks opened their store in 1978. Four Oaks was primarily a butcher shop but also stocked a line of Dutch products.