New CRU on De Groenplaats in Antwerp opens its doors

On Thursday 21 February, CRU will open its new location at De Groenplaats in the centre of Antwerp. The fresh market has a surface of 765 m² and offers work to 25 employees. 21 of them are relocating from CRU Wijnegem, which closed its doors at the beginning of January. CRU Groenplaats provides an intense artisan experience in combination with practical self-service. In the bakery and food corner customers can enjoy breakfast, lunch and an aperitif every day, both on site and to take away.

From Wijnegem to central city location

The new CRU is located on the corner of Schoenmarkt and Geefsstraat. Jo Spiegeleer, CRU business unit manager: "De Groenplaats is the ideal location for a retail concept such as CRU. Not only does it have a fantastic reputation, it also has a lot of footfall and is located right in the city centre. Over the past two years, we have noticed at the Kouter in Ghent that our appeal is broad-based. There, we not only count local residents among our regular customers, but also numerous day trippers and people from just outside the city."

New interior, cash register system and food corner

The design of CRU Groenplaats is very open plan, offering a splendid panorama of the different metiers: seasonal vegetables and fruit, fresh fish and meat, cold meats, cheese, bread, original drinks, chocolate and flowers. The ingredients of the market are used to prepare dishes in their own kitchen. The shopping circuit is designed in such a way that customers gain a first-hand view of the artisans at work. Market manager Didier Van Ghendt explains why: "We want to create and even greater connection with traditional artisan products. People place increasing value on fair and sustainable products. At CRU, they discover that the combination of artisanship with natural products 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."

The new CRU will also have a different cash register system than in Wijnegem. Van Ghendt: "We have many loyal customers who honestly told us that shopping at CRU Wijnegem was not always easy. That is why we are testing a new system where customers no longer need to scan their items as they are shopping, but can wait until the very end. That means they still pay for their groceries themselves."

The fresh market is open on weekdays from 10 am, and on weekends and holidays from 8 am. The bakery and food corner are open every day from 8 am. Customers can have a quick bite to eat for breakfast, lunch or as an aperitif, such as a quiche or salad. Or they can pick up something for the road. "We don't have a CUIT, like the CRU of Ghent and Overijse do, but with our snug dining area we make up for that", says Van Ghendt.

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. For years, CRU has worked closely with the Antwerp cheese maker Van Tricht and the Antwerp chocolatier Jitsk. Recently, Jus Jus also became one of the Antwerp partners. They press juices with the vegetables and fruit that CRU supplies them with. The majority of the employees also come from the Antwerp region. Of the 25 employees who will start at De Groenplaats, 21 are from the CRU market in Wijnegem. That means that customers visiting the new market will be greeted by many familiar faces.

Pilot scheme for home delivery and collection extended

In the weeks between when CRU Wijnegem closed and CRU Groenplaats opened, customers had the choice of having their shopping home delivered via the shopping platform Apporto, or collecting their shopping from the building in Wijnegem. Jo Spiegeleer says: "This pilot will definitely continue until April and will then be evaluated. This way, we will continue to reach a number of loyal customers from Wijnegem, who for various reasons can’t get into the city centre." Apporto is a peer-to-peer platform offered by Colruyt Group that makes it easier for people to shop for each other. It’s easy for customers to draw up a shopping list of CRU products and send it via e-mail or telephone. In the next step, CRU employees put together the order and use the Apporto app to find someone in the neighbourhood who can deliver the shopping to the customer’s home address in exchange for a small fee.

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