Monday, November 25, 2019
Larger retail area and car park
The Spar Kalken building - a former carpet shop - dates from the 70s. "We had been toying with the idea of thoroughly refurbishing our shop for quite a while," says Philippe. "Twelve years after the opening, it started to show signs of wear and tear." The entire shop was remodelled in two stages and remained open while the work was carried out. The offices and butcher's counter were demolished and rebuilt. The retail area was increased from 700 to 1,000 m², the legal maximum imposed by the municipality of Laarne for stores along the Dendermondsesteenweg. Spar Kalken was also successful in buying two neighbouring buildings, which have been converted into a car park. This has had the effect of increasing capacity from 75 to 110 parking spaces.
Single-dish restaurant and tearoom
A separate entrance brings customers to 'Margriet', a single-dish restaurant combined with a tearoom that can seat sixty people. Every day, the restaurant serves one dish of the day and a vegetarian alternative. Customers serve themselves then fill up at the salad bar. The open-plan layout of the kitchen and bakery allows customers a view of the chefs at work. They also serve fresh home-made cakes and pastries. "The restaurant is named after Margriet, Philippe's grandmother," says Eva. "The meat and cold cuts from our butcher's shop are sold under the brandname Fons, named after my grandfather.”
Market style and emphasis on fresh produce
Spar Kalken has a fresh, modern look and has been decorated in the style of the new generation of Spar convenience stores. As a member of the consultative body “Spar-toekomstraad”, Philippe was personally involved in drawing up the new concept. "We want to focus more on our fresh produce departments and create an authentic market feeling. Our bakery bakes fresh bread and cakes several times a day. Our fruit and vegetables will be presented in an even more open and attractive way."
Philippe and Eva made the decision in favour of as many sustainable and environmentally friendly techniques as possible to be future-proof. Geothermal heat pumps are used to provide heating and cooling in the supermarket. The residual heat from the cold stores is reused to heat the nine apartments above the store. "The roof of our building is also extremely suitable for solar panels, so we are planning to install a large number of them soon.”
Retail runs in the family
As the daughter of an East Flemish entrepreneur with shops in Baasrode, Berlare and Zele, Eva was already familiar with the world of retail. Thirteen years ago she started a new business in Kalken, together with her husband Philippe. Spar’s team in Kalken consists of about twenty full-time employees. Eva: "We have a strong base of colleagues that we can rely on. We also consulted with them intensively about the make-over."