By Harald Linkels
Kralendijk- Despite earlier denials, entrepreneur and supermarket owner Gerard van den Tweel has sold his supermarkets on Bonaire, Curaçao and Aruba. This can be understood from a letter that Van den Tweel sent to the employees of the supermarkets on May 3rd, 2018.
Not much is known as of yet about the new owner, a business man with last name Azan. Van den Tweel in his letter stated that it concerns an entrepreneur with the necessary experience. The new owner could be Gassan Azan, an entrepreneur from Jamaica who owns various supermarkets under the brand names Bascho and Mandeville MegaMart.
During the first four years Van den Tweel will continue to be involved in the management of supermarkets on the islands. The supermarket boss also says that the current appearance of the supermarkets will be maintained. “The next four years I will stay involved in the business and I will see you regularly visit the islands”, writes Van den Tweel in his letter to the employees. He also states in the letter to be proud of the stores he has built up, together with the employees.
For the employees not much will change on the short term. Van den Tweel says in his letter to the employees that the employment conditions for the employees remain unchanged.
Van den Tweel’s letter does not mention the Bonaire Food Group, which is also a company founded by Van den Tweel to serve not only its supermarkets, but also other large (business to business) customers. It is not clear whether Van den Tweel will continue to operate Bonaire Food Group or that the new owner was not interested in taking over the shares of this particular business.
Van den Tweel Supermarket on Bonaire was built to become a full fledged Albert Heijn branch on the island, just like the Albert Heijn branch in Zeelandia, Curaçao. Van den Tweel, however, did not come to an agreement with Ahold about the conditions of the franchise contract. Van den Tweel then decided to operate the supermarket under his own name, although Albert Heijn products were always available in the store. Van den Tweel later also decided to change the Zeelandia Albert Heijn branch into Van den Tweel, while a new branch in the Jan Thiel area was opened directly under the Van den Tweel formula.
Together with the most recent acquisition of Van den Tweel, the Ling & Sons Supermarket on Aruba, a total of 5 supermarkets have been sold to the new owner/operator.