The History of the Dutch Grocery Store
Dutch Groceries and Imported Dry Goods was founded on October 22, 1953, by Johan Veurtjes, beginning as a tiny grocery store in the front room of their Slater Street residence.
After 8 years they moved to 796 Somerset, around this time Johan retired (1971) and Piet Veurtjes (his son) along with his wife Dieuwie took over the business (1967).
The store was well known in the Dutch community and beyond. Piet imported the products himself from the Netherlands and always made every effort possible to realize special requests from the customers.
In August 1974 Piet moved the store to Richmond Rd. They continued their service in the store as well as door-to-door delivery. They went as far as Cornwall! It was at this location where Piet noticed an increase of Canadian customers that were interested in the Dutch goodies.
The store carried everything imaginable, and Piet was especially proud of his line of copperware and Delft china imported from the Netherlands.
Dutch Groceries and Imports moved to the Bleeker mall in the early ’80s.
For the next 25 years, Piet continued to drive around 2 days a week, making sure everyone had their goodies and the store became the staple in Ottawa as we know it today!
In September 2007 it was time for Piet and Dieuwie to retire. After more than 50 years of keeping Dutch Groceries and Imports in the Veurtjes family, they put the store up for sale.
They sold the store to Henk and Jose Van Zijl, Anita Rampaart and Raymond Lanteigne.
The 4 of them immediately made some major changes including changing location (2009) to a bigger store (same mall) with a brand-new set up with new coolers/freezers and shelving. They also renamed the business, it became Dutch Groceries and Giftware.
José expanded the giftware section with more textile and serviettes, modernizing some of the more traditional items like the Delft blue and many other items.
Behind the scene, they updated the ordering systems to make sure the customer service level stayed top-notch.
In the store, they added a nice reading area which was well received by the customers and of course, they introduced a newsletter to stay in close contact with the Dutch Groceries and Giftware community.
With the traditions started by Piet and his father before him, they continued the store as we know it today.
In 2016 Raymond and Anita decided to leave the store but as we all know, Anita continues to be part of the Dutch groceries team and can be seen every once in a while, working.
Henk and José continued to run for 4 more years but decided in the spring of 2020 that it was time to retire. The store was ready for new ownership even though they knew it was hard to leave the place they had called their second home for 14 years.
The year 2020 was a hard and difficult time, not only for Canada but for the world. We can all agree that most of us have little good memories of that year. But in an unprecedented year, one mans dream came true. Daniel Metternich became the proud owner of Dutch Groceries and Giftware.
Since arriving alone in Canada in 2006, he continued to have a close bond with the Netherlands. It was important for him to share his culture and traditions with his family and Dutch Groceries and Giftware were there to help him. When the opportunity arrived to be able to own the Grocery store that he had spent so much time in and truly cherished, it was a dream come true.
Daniel took over in October of 2020 and along with his wife Rosie and their 4 kids they are committed to honouring the traditions that were here since the Veurtjes, while moving forward in leaps and bounds to provide that home away from home, that was so important to Daniel when he arrived in Canada.
The store was painted and redecorated in the winter of 2021. They decided to change the name to Dutch Groceries (as this is what has been the most constant part of this store; Dutch Groceries 😊) and introduced an exciting amount of brand-new Dutch products. They expanded their houseware section and will continue to bring in new items.
With the great help of Bastiaan Lovers, Dutch Groceries is now online and with the combination of a beautiful storefront and a solid webshop, it will ensure that Dutch Groceries is here to stay!
Thank you Piet and Dieuwie. Thank you, Anita and Raymond. Thank you, Henk and Jose.