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Ankerstraat 45 in Sint-Niklaas is an old historic building which has seen many occupants over the years.

In more recent times, from 1987 till 1992, it was the home of Cooreman Chocolates.
Mr. Cooreman made all the chocolates entirely by hand, without the help of machines, while his wife managed the shop. Unfortunately, Mr. Cooreman died after a long illness and
Mrs. Cooreman was forced to sell.

In February 1992 Paul and Noella Van Bouwel took over the business. This was shortly after St Valentine's Day, always a busy and creative time for Belgian chocolate makers. They set to work with great enthusiasm and energy and soon built up a successful business. Previously they had lived and worked for two years in Spain and came back with many new and interesting ideas. They made things which the people of Sint-Niklaas and surrounding towns had never seen before.

In 1993 the small workshop was enlarged for the first time. That was two weeks before Easter and the street outside, the Ankerstraat, was completely dug up for repairs. Thanks to the cooperation of Fran├žois Ice-Cream, an emergency bridge was build between the two businesses. To inform people about the art of master chocolate making, guided tours were organized. Paul and Noella passed on their knowledge and experience to numerous trainees and apprentices. In 2003 they were again confronted with major road works in the city. For a whole year, the large market square of Sint-Niklaas was a building site. On completion of the works, a Chocolate exhibition was held on the square and, of course, Paul and Noella were there.

In October 2005 Paul and Noella had an interview with the local newspaper "Gazet van Antwerpen" and mentioned that they wanted to pass on the flame. Soon there were thirteen potential candidates. Nick and Hilde visited the establishment for the first time on 6 January 2006. They hesitated outside for a while, and eventually walked in. "Good day madam, may we ask you something? We understand that you are looking for somebody to take over the business. If this is true, we are interested." "Yes it is true we are looking for somebody. What can you do?" Once they learned about Nick's experience and skills, negotiations proceeded apace.

Nick and Hilde still have fond memories of that first meeting with Paul and Noella. A close relationship developed and on 1 September 2006 a new business was started under the name Chocolatier Wauters. Paul and Noella continued to give Nick and Hilde advice and support until 31 December 2006. They are now enjoying a well deserved retirement but maintain almost weekly contacts with their successors.
To them, Nick and Hilde say a heartfelt
"Thank You".

 

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