Thursday, September 22, 2022
On Thursday 22 September, CRU opens its new branch in Dilbeek, on the site of old geuze and lambic brewery Eylenbosch. The new covered market is 565 m² in size and houses 10 traditional metiers. CRU Dilbeek focusses on an intense experience of crafts in combination with conveniently organised self-service. In addition to the market that is open every day, customers can also visit eatery Cuit on Fridays and weekends from 30 September for breakfast, lunch and aperitifs. Measuring 255 m², Cuit offers all the space needed for relaxed dining.
The fourth CRU market opens at the site of former geuze and lambic brewery Eylenbosch, a historic building with character on the busy Ninoofsesteenweg. Jo Spiegeleer, CRU business unit manager, is delighted about the location: "The Eylenbosch site was one of the first sites CRU had in mind when it launched in 2014. We had to be patient for several more years before the plans for the future of the entire site were revealed, and even then, the renovation of the 19th-century brewery complex still took some time. Now that we have moved into our long-awaited branch, we are very proud to be part of this iconic site."
The renovation preserved the historic character of the building, where possible, and the market was built in line with the building’s unique features. The car park is on the ground floor, CRU covered market and Cuit eatery are just above it, opening onto a central courtyard, where it will be great to enjoy Cuit on the patio. Other liberal professions will set up in this courtyard and the site's 40 flats will also have access.
The fact that the Eylenbosch site in Dilbeek is on the busy Ninoofsesteenweg and can be seen from miles away proved to be an added bonus. “CRU Dilbeek, like CRU Overijse, will be a pass-by location close to the Brussels Ring Road," says Jo Spiegeleer, CRU business unit manager. "That way, we are easily accessible to a very diverse audience. We are convinced that there are many potential customers in the outskirts west of Brussels."
Design tailored to 19th-century building
CRU Dilbeek was set up as a market, with 3 different areas, which follow the logic of the historical building. Customers enter with the smell of freshly baked bread and first pass by the bakery. In the central area with plenty of light, customers will find a wide selection of seasonal fruits and vegetables. The 'cold' area houses most of the metiers and the products that require more refrigeration, such as cheese and cold cuts, meat, fish and a choice of dishes from CRU’s own kitchen. From there, customers head towards the 'pantry', where they can purchase original drinks, chocolates and flowers.
The circuit is designed in a way that customers can see the skilled staff at work. Experience manager Marina Bockstal explains: “We want to create a greater connection with traditional artisan products. People increasingly value fair and sustainable products. At CRU, they discover that letting nature do its work, combined with artisanship, results in extraordinary flavours. For customers who already know our products, we have made an even greater effort with self-service so that they can go through the market smoothly."
In the meat, fish, cheese and cold cuts metiers, there will be service from 10:00 h Monday to Thursday, while on weekends and Fridays, service is available from 8:00 h. “This allows us to offer the highest-quality service to our customers when they want it, and at the same time it is a way of making smart use of our staff,” saysexperience manager Marina Bockstal.
Search for staff
The search for staff did not go smoothly. Experience manager Marina Bockstal explains: "The tightness in the labour market which exists across all sectors did not make it easy for us either. For a market like CRU, we are looking for both professionals who have mastered the craft and all-rounders who are bitten by 'good' food and want to know more about multiple metiers. Our biggest strengths are stable hours with a fixed closing time at 18:30 h, a schedule fixed 3 weeks in advance and job security. As a result, we received quite a few more applicants in recent weeks and can open CRU Dilbeek with a team of 28 people.”
The team currently consists of 19 permanent staff, 5 colleagues from other CRU markets or internal departments who temporarily help out, and 4 people who see this as the ideal flexi-job. Additionally, experience manager Marina Bockstal can also rely on a number of job students. "I am very happy with the last-minute inflow and the extra helping hands, but we are still looking for new colleagues to work at CRU, both for Dilbeek and the other markets."
Child of the region
When selecting what went into its range, CRU was on the lookout for partners with the same outlook about products, ingredients and the production process. Some of those like-minded souls are even from the region. The Eylenbosch geuze, with roots in the same building, could not be missing from CRU's offering. Brewery Eylenbosch closed its doors in the 1990s and stopped producing its geuze and lambic. A few years ago, the iconic beer was brought back to life by the 5th generation of the brewing family. Of course, the 'new' lambic will be brewed according to their traditional method and recipes.
The lamb at CRU Dilbeek comes from Maarten Michiels, a sheep farmer in Ninove who keeps his sheep and lambs outside as much as possible. Gin, pastis, brandy and other spirits come from De Cort Distillery, a farm distillery in Pepingen that makes their spirits with everything grown on and around the farm in Pepingen and the surrounding area. The cabbages and pumpkins come from Monique and Jos Vandersmissen's organic farm in Halle. Potatoes also travel just a short route, coming from Hoeve Lemaire in Oudenaken.
All these products are available every day, as CRU Dilbeek is open 7 days a week, including public holidays, from 8:00 to 18:30 h. Eatery Cuit will be open from Friday to Sunday, including holidays, from 8:00 to 18:30 h. Customers can enjoy breakfast, lunch or an aperitif there.