The Dutch Store
Shortly after World War II, Huron County became home to a wave of Dutch immigrants as part of a resettlement plan between the Canadian and Dutch governments. Many of those settling in the area were homesick for food, treats and other memories from home and The Dutch Store aimed to take care of those needs. Some of those needs were as basic as underwear in styles and brands that were not readily available in Canada.
While the store itself has been here for more than 60 years, it has had a series of owners. In 2009, Tineke Miedema, a first-generation immigrant from The Netherlands, found herself in a position to take over the store.
The original customers were the first-generation Dutch who missed their comfort foods, but Miedema is finding that more and more second- and third-generation Dutch-Canadians are now looking to recreate those meals and experiences that remind them of their parents and grandparents. She is often searching out ingredients for traditional dishes and giving advice on preparing them. The younger generations are now reclaiming their heritage.
The store stocks hundreds, if not thousands, of items, ranging from Dutch cheeses to stroopwafel (literally, “syrup waffle”, a delightfully sweet cookie) to double-salted licorice.
Most visitors to the store are amazed at the amount of yarn that is sold, and the range of knitting supplies in stock.
Winter season is busy with Christmas purchases and seasonal items like fruit bread and chocolate letters. Once the holiday season quiets down, Miedema says that cozy and comfort will be the theme throughout the winter season. Yarn will fly off the shelves for knitting projects and pea soup will provide a hearty treat.
Over the years, Miedema has paid attention to customer service and built a loyal following. The items she stocks are unique and some of her customers travel a fair distance to stock up on their favourite treats and have a visit with Miedema and her staff. “A smile is a language everyone understands,” she says. 55 Albert St., Clinton