Toon’s supermarket still popular after 55 years

Toon's local supermarket still popular after 55 years: 'I'm not behind the geraniums yet'
Photo credit: Studio040

At a time when small entrepreneurs are collapsing because they are losing the battle against the large chains, the local supermarket Stratman in Tivoli in Eindhoven is rock solid. “Sometimes things get stormy”.

In fact, the local shop of Toon Stratman (82) in the Tivoli district of Eindhoven has been around for 55 years. Toon has always been the sole owner. He used to have a staff of three and his then wife also helped. It was at a time when supermarkets were not yet that big. These were golden times for Toon. “I had a turnover of 500,000 guilders a year at the time. They were standing in line”, he says. “Those were different times. We mainly sold potatoes, vegetables, fruit and some groceries”.

Now people come for a single item, sometimes a basket. Toon has had a low shelve full of sweets especially for the children in the neighbourhood for years. You get a bit of an old-fashioned idea of ​​a candy store.

Work as fulfillment of life

Toon is busy with it. The store is open four days a week. On the days it is closed, he takes care of his pigeons and does the shopping. He lives opposite the store, so that’s easy. “Sometimes people ask for an errand after closing time, but I don’t do that, otherwise you never have free time”. He only makes an exception for good friends. After his divorce it was necessary that he continued to work. Working and interacting with people gives him satisfaction. “Otherwise you’ll just be looking at the geraniums”.

Family help

Daughter Nancy also used to help out. And the grandchildren Rein and Indy, when they were still at school. Nancy now has a nice business in furniture and home furnishings in Heeze. “And Rein is at university”.

Old habits

Everything Toon sells he writes down by hand. He is still good at math. And people still pay him in cash. He doesn’t like ATMs. He no longer just sells on credit. He learned from that. “People promised to pay if, for example, when their child benefit would come, but then they never showed up”.

Social function

The local supermarket also has a strong social function. It is also called the ‘Praathuis’ (‘talking house’). A bit of neighbourhood, a bit of chatting with each other. It is a neighbourhood where social control is pleasantly present. Everyone in the neighbourhood is excited that the shop is still there.

Some local residents cook for people in the street, including Toon. He is well taken care of. Assistance in the store is also provided. He is assisted in the case by various local residents, such as José Bijsterveld. José lives down the street and likes to lend a hand. She does that almost every day. She also comes along to do some shopping. In recent months she has advertised fresh asparagus for Toon on Facebook. She gets them herself from the farmer in Leende. “Then things start to get stormy”, she says. “People are coming by again. Some are surprised that Stratman is still there. Sometimes they know the shop from the past”.


Many young people remember Toon from the time they were in high school. “We’re going to visit ‘grandfather'”, they would say. They then went to get drinks. They couldn’t buy alcohol anywhere because of their age, but they could from Toon. He has left that far behind him. “No, I haven’t done that for a long time”, he says. “I had a lot of hassle with it. I also got a lawsuit. I prefer not to think about that anymore”.

Necessary renovations

The building where Stratman is located on Tapirstraat is old and in urgent need of renovation. He has problems with water in the basement and the roof is leaking. During the period when Woonbedrijf corporation was renovating the houses in the Tivoli district, his building was not included. Why not is still unclear to this day. “But now something is finally going to happen”, José says. “They are going to do both the basement and the roof”. Can Toon’s shop remain open? “I think so”, Toon says.

Source: Studio040

Translated by: Bob

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