Friday, June 11, 2010

Expedition Sligro

With the Dutch political establishment sliding right on advice of SE voters (Maastricht included?), it seems like a good time to abandon the election results and arrange a serious apartment-warming party.  The weather is beautiful this morning, orange flags fluttering against a blue sky along Kesselskade, brisk breeze over the Maas.  And a brisk pedal over the bridges and into Beatrixhaven is all it takes to stock up on nibbles and drinks.

DSC00330 All it takes is Sligro.

One of the nice perks of owning a business is that it gives access to the warehouse stores for wholesale supplies.  I joined Makro a year ago, but was disappointed with their quality and pricing.  Not so, Sligro.

Sligro supplies stores and restaurants with food and housewares, a lot of it in bulk packaging like I would expect from Costco (without the camping gear and electronics).  The store looks like a downscale Jumbo at the entry, but is a vast warehouse with a wandering track through it, somewhat like an Ikea.  But instead of sample rooms and furniture, there are miles of shelves, roughly arranged into departments, filled with pallets of spices, plates, borrel mix, and cleaning supplies.

The meat and fish counters are impressive, the cheese, coffee, and wine selections are excellent, but fruits, vegetables, beers, and baked goods are less abundant.  There is a nice selection of linens and settings for tables, endless coffee and water pitchers, but few espresso machines or little professional cooking gear.  (You can, however, get a high-end Douwe Egberts multi-purpose coffee / tea / water machine for just over 3000 euros.)

  There are samples of food and drink scattered everywhere, the trick is to pop out the end of an aisle and grab a bit before being run down by a fork lift.  Green-shirted staff are everywhere, and the owner is always in motion up and down the aisles, shaking hands with customers.  The quality and ambience of the store is very good, although it’s hard to judge to value because I have to buy so much of things in a package.  It’s ideal for a party, but no replacement for the neighborhood markets or grocery for everyday items.

I’m still trying to figure out the timing of the bollards that cut off vehicle access to my neighborhood, so it still takes too many walking trips to get things across the river and up to the apartment.  But now I’m stocked and ready to thank the folks who helped with the move and welcome a few friends to the new digs.

Disclaimer: I have not received any request or inducement to write this review; I applied for my own membership and paid for my own groceries.

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