Dutch entrepreneur in Texas recognized by H-E-B

Dutch Stroopwafel syrup made in Texas? Yes, and soon on H-E-B shelves!

The Stroop Club is the company of two Dutch entrepreneurs, Chantal Piët and Tako Vermeulen, that started this business in Austin exactly 6 years ago. Their passion and innovation have always been the spirit of their business, which now led them to be among the finalists of one of the most important culinary contests in the region. During this event, they were recognized by the State of Texas and its biggest grocery company, H-E-B.

Read more in this interview with Chantal Piët.

By Maria Alamo, Deputy Representative

How long have been The Stroop Club operating in Texas? And how have been your experience as a Dutch entrepreneur in this region?

We arrived in Texas in September of 2015, registered the business in October and started at the Farmers Market in November! For two years we only did markets, festivals, and events. As Dutch entrepreneurs, we are very proud to say that Texans love our Stroopwafel! And they’re very curious and supportive to different immigrants and their foods: very warm, helpful, and welcoming. The NBSO Texas has always been supportive of us from day one with events, resources, and promotion as well!

What is the H-E-B Quest for Texas? And what motivated you to participate?

H-E-B is the biggest retail grocery chain in Texas, like the AH in Holland. Every year they hold a Quest for the best new products of Texas to give small businesses the opportunities to pitch their products and to highlight Texas-made or grown products. H-E-B truly does a lot for Texans and the communities in so many different ways, for example during hurricane Harvey, Covid-19, the freeze, they truly stand for heart and help! So, we would obviously LOVE to work with them. Starting our business in Texas… Getting on their shelves would be the cherry on the cake.

How was the selection process? What did you learn along the way?

You had to apply with a form with information, pictures, and a product video. There are multiple screening interviews afterwards. They obviously want to know if the product is truly made in Texas, who you are, what the product looks and taste like!

For us, this is important, as being Dutch you might think you know your region or how people think and talk, but only through processes like these you truly learn about your local communities and their ways of thinking and values.

What does this recognition mean to you and to the Stroop Club?

Everything!!! From over 1250 submitted products, our syrup ended up with the last 20. We’ve been focusing on sustainability and helping our own new fellow Texas and women and minority-owned businesses along the way and having this recognition means we are on the right track!

What will you tell other Dutch entrepreneurs who want to do business in Texas?

Come here, look around, listen, and learn from your environment. Leave your prejudices and direct hard language at home. Be friendly, positive, and subtle… But come, this is a great place to start!

Do you have any future plans or projects that you would like to share with us?

Now we have to work with the Buyers and Business Development Managers to get our products on the shelves! But yes… We would love to have our vegan brand expand back to Europe as well.

To be continued…