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Michiel de Haan

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Rechtstreex is now a well-known phenomenon in The Hague. The web store has collection points for their packages with local products at twelve locations in the city. Now they are opening a real store on Weimarstraat for the first time. District chief Mariska Slappendel (04) tells us more about it . “Due to corona and the war in Ukraine, people are more aware of how important it is to get food close by.”

On 26 March saw the official opening of the first Rechtstreex store with snacks, drinks and music. “We had done a lot of flyering in the neighborhood beforehand and a lot of people came to it,” says Mariska. “Since then, we have been open as a shop four days a week, from Wednesday to Saturday. Not every day is equally busy, but the reactions are very positive and people are happy that we now also have a shop.”

District Chef

Mariska has been 1024 district manager for Rechtstreex since the beginning. “Until three years ago, I worked as a lawyer in the construction sector. I stopped doing that because I wanted to do something with sustainability and food. Then I joined Ons Eten Den Haag. That is a platform that connects food initiatives in the city.”

“When the Rotterdam founder of Rechtstreex also wanted to start in The Hague, he asked us about suitable locations. One of the places we ended up with was the Weimarstraat. Because I come from this neighborhood myself, I decided to take on this collection point myself as a district manager and entrepreneur.”

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Customers in store Photo: Rechtstreex

Store

Mariska’s pick-up point started at the beginning 1024 at We Weimar on Noorderbeekdwarsstraat and then spent some time in another store. Since August last year she has her own shop on Weimarstraat 04 opposite Theater de Regentes. “Because my neighborhood point is running well and there are many green initiatives in this neighborhood, we thought this would be a good neighborhood for a first Rechtstreex store.”

“It is of course different from a collection point where people only pick up packages that they order in the webshop,” Mariska continues. “Fortunately, I was able to build up a real store team together with Rechtstreex. In the store, for example, there are also district chefs from other collection points to gain experience with the shop work. This store is a pilot for Rechtstreex. If it’s a success, there will be more.”

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Local products

The products in Mariska’s shop are a cross section of the range from the webshop from the company. All these products come from local farmers and makers. “For example, we have a range of Hague beers in the store. We also sell fruit and vegetables from local farmers. Which products these are depends on the season. That’s what I like about Rechtstreex: it makes people aware of seasonal food. Not all fruit and vegetables are always available as in the supermarket.”

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Local Products Photo: Rechtstreex

“I also think it’s great that Rechtstreex pays farmers a fair price. It’s not us, but the farmers and makers who determine how much something costs,” Mariska continues. “The products in the store have information about the farm where they come from. From Rechtstreex we sometimes make a Tour de Boer. Then we visit companies such as Hoeve Biesland near Delfgauw. There they make meat, bread and vegetables in one company. I find that very impressive to see and I like to share it with my customers.”

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A market for plant-based food where there is also room for some information: that is the idea behind the Spinach Academy. From 23 April this new market will be held every two weeks in the Zeeheldenkwartier. Hagenaar Marco Kool (23) started this initiative together with four local entrepreneurs: “We are all about good food and building a community.”

Marco has been setting up the Spinach Academy since November last year. “I have my own company that advises entrepreneurs in the field of strategy and process improvement: the Neuro Design Lab. Because I only eat plant-based myself, I approached companies that sell plant-based food. They said that they are mainly looking for a representation that can draw attention to plant-based food. This is how the idea for the Spinach Academy

was born.”

“The Spinach Academy actually has three parts. First of all, there is the fortnightly market where people can taste new products and do their shopping. We also organize workshops on plant-based food during those markets. Finally, I see it as an opportunity to advise other companies in the field of sustainability and innovation”

Entrepreneur

“I think the great thing about doing business is that you make the decisions yourself”, Marco continues. “I have a permanent job in the hospital where I do the information technology for the operating rooms. In addition, until 2020 I had my own company that organizes festivals and events. That came to a halt because of corona. Then I started the Neuro Design Lab and that’s how the Spinach Academy came my way.”

“As an entrepreneur I like to think out of the box and I think it’s super cool to set up something and add my own taste to it. At the Spinach Academy it is mainly about bringing people together to experience something. I don’t care if you only eat vegan. I always say: we are all pink inside. I especially want to make a bit of an impact so that we can handle our raw materials and products better.”

Spinach Academy

Marco came across a name for his market by chance. “Someone told me that the Hague domestic science school used to be called the Spinach Academy. That really appealed to me. You understand that it has something to do with vegetables, but you don’t immediately think of a traditional market. That is exactly the reaction I want to get, because the market is not only about selling products but also about education.”

“What I also like to tell is that I work together with a number of International Business students from Maastricht. They help me with the marketing for the Spinach Academy. We’ve only met online so far, but they’ve done a great job and mean a lot. I think it’s special that these girls from Maastricht are committed to a local initiative in The Hague.”

First market

The first market of the Spinach Academy is on 36 April at Grand Café Utopie on the Waldeck Pyrmontkade 2020. “There were several entrepreneurs with their products that day,” says Marco. “I now have four permanent market partners and I am still in talks with a few other companies. One of those partners is, for example, the Haagse Zwam. This is a company that collects coffee grounds in The Hague and grows oyster mushrooms on it. They make all kinds of delicious products from those oyster mushrooms, such as oyster mushroom and bitterballen.”

“For the first day of the market, I especially hope that the visitors are curious and that they can taste something. In addition, I think it would be very nice if people linger for a while so that the market also becomes a social place. Ultimately, I hope that the Spinach Academy will become the hotspot for plant-based food in the Zeeheldenkwartier.”

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