Rotterdam entrepreneur Kees van Vuuren is starting a chain of immigrant supermarkets. Under the name Waikiki he hopes to have 150-200 shops in the end, especially in cities and neighborhoods where small grocery shops have disappeared in the past decade. The first Waikiki shop will open at the end of this month in Almere. A shop in the Rotterdam neighborhood of Charlois will follow in March. 15-20 shops will open before the end of the year and the company must be profitable, according to De Volkskrant.
Van Vuuren hopes not only to earn money with Waikiki but also to improve the atmosphere in unsafe neighborhoods and to encourage integration. Waikiki shops will be run by young immigrant entrepreneurs, that must invest 30,000 euro of their own. According to company accountant Peter Jansen, 18 entrepreneurs have shown serious interest in opening a Waikiki shop.
A Waikiki shop will offer the client the choice of Lebanese, Polish, Russian, Surinamese, Czech, Turkish and Dutch products, among others. Additionally it will offer halal sweets. Every shop will have a halal butcher and if the entrepreneur has no objects, a small separate refrigerator with pork products.
"Meatballs for the Dutch (cheese-heads)," according to Van Vurren, who had an Edah shop for seven years.
The shop in Almere will not have separate refrigeration. The two Iraqis who run the shop are strictly religious and don't want pork in their shop. Additionally they don't want to sell alcohol. "Also not alcohol-free beer because illiterate Muslims can't read the label. If we sell that, we'll get a bad name," says one of them.
Van Vurren gives the entrepreneurs free reign on this, though he regrets it if a franchise decides not to put beer on the shelves and thereby loses income. "Poles drink a lot, and Turks do too."
In contrast to the freedom in the area of not offering pork and alcohol, Van Vuuren will strictly control his franchise holders uniform and shop administration. An earlier attempt by a Rotterdam resident to set up an immigrant supermarket chain didn't succeed since the entrepreneurs got too much freedom and the chain was no longer recognizable.
Source: Zibb (Dutch)