European Importers has now closed, as of December 19th, 2017. It really happened! Some comments from the Germans in Vancouver Facebook Page are: “Werde den Laden sehr vermission. Besonders zur Weihnachtszeit.” or “Da muessen wir wieder die Deutschland Packete einfuehren” or “Do not close. It would be so sad.”
The business, under the management of Karl von Renesse, opened its doors as “European Warehouse” in 1957. He came to Vancouver in 1975 and moved into a warehouse on Railway Street. When that burned down, they moved to Alexander Street, close to Oppenheimer Park and the Freybe Store. Finally, they bought the warehouse on 220 Prior Street in 1980 and became “European Specialty Importers” at the end of 1980.
Traute & Karl ran the store together, until Karl died in 1994 at the age of 63. Jasmine, their daughter, went to BCIT and took a Hotel Management course with a focus on food & beverages. Karl also spent some time training his daughter in how to run the store. She started working there around the age of 21 and was still there at the “bitter end.”
The highlights of the store were the years leading up to Expo ‘86, when European Importers supplied most of the German deli’s, bakeries and groceries across Vancouver After that, the sales declined until it just made sense to sell the place. Both Traute & Jasmine will be retiring and moving on to other things.
I will be posting lots of pictures on my Westcoast German News Blog, most of which were taken by Dietrich Klaue..