#SupportYour Locals | Entrepreneurs Ciska and Marcel
In our #Supportyourlocals column, we visit our neighbors at the NDSM wharf one by one to hear their stories and, where necessary, encourage them in these unique times. In this edition we will visit Ciska Jonk from the fish stall and Marcel Ellens from NDSM Bikes. By Teus Hagen & Robin van Dijk
In the wake of the Pontkade you will find the perfect place at these two entrepreneurs to start your tour of Amsterdam Noord. As close neighbors, they are, in their own words, in perhaps the most beautiful corner of the yard. Every day they receive residents and other Northerners as well as visitors to the shipyard. Those people come for the deliciously fatty herring or crispy cod from Ciska or to rent a bicycle from Marcel for an adventure on two wheels. By the way, they have both been familiar with Amsterdam-Noord for some time and, in addition to their practical merits, are always up for a nice chat. How have they experienced the past Corona Corona year? And do they dare to be a bit optimistic again with spring on their way? On a sunny February day, we talked about their work and experiences at the NDSM wharf.
Marcel and Ciska, why did your eye fall upon the NDSM-wharf to start your business?
“I’ve been working in Noord for 25 years”, Ciska answers, “I first worked in shops in various places in Noord. When that ended, I chose to work from mobile car like this. After I had to leave the Klaprozenweg because of the renovations there, I ended up at the NDSM wharf. It was more of a coincidence than a conscious choice, but I am very happy with it. ”
The ferry has something about it, it is just like in New York City
“At first I was in a completely different industry,” continues Marcel, “I was originally in the securities world as an options trader. That was a traditional office job, and at a certain point I didn’t feel like it anymore. I think I kept it up for ten years, after which I thought: this is no longer my thing. Then I stopped, I sold everything and then came into contact with bicycle rental via via. I was immediately enthusiastic about this work, it really seemed like fun. After having done the necessary calculations and a long search for the right place, I ended up at this corner. It took a number of months before the various parties here agreed with the location. But after many conversations we are there, except for the most beautiful spot, well, except for Ciska, this is the most beautiful spot in the yard. ”
But Ciska is mobile…
“That’s right, but this is really the most beautiful place in the yard, so close to the ferry and the water,” Marcel laughs. “Of course I have a permit,” Ciska adds, “I am not allowed to just stand anywhere. I am allowed to move if there are renovations, such as now (the work on the Ms. Van Riemsdijkweg ed.) And then I go a bit with the tailwind. I remember when I came here for the first time and there was nothing at all. ”
“I can still remember that as well”, Marcel adds, “I rcall that in the beginning one afternoon I sat on the bench by the ferry with pen and paper, noting how many people left the ferry on to the yard. There were really very few at the time, a handful at most. But now, in the summer, especially when Pllek and Noorderlicht open, at least 30 people will join every ferry! ” The two look at each other in agreement for a moment. “The ferry also has something about it,” Marcel continues, “it is just like in New York city, if you want to go to a different part, you have to get off Manhattan and then you also have to take the ferry. If you then stand on it for 10 minutes, it is actually also a wonderful moment of rest, I think it’s great to do it every day. ”
What is something nice or unique about the people that visit you?
“I think the best thing is that every day is really different”, says Ciska, “Really all kinds of people of all ages come to see me. For example, I also have people who have been customers for 25 years. It can sometimes really feel like a village here, I notice that with my customers they also meet each other here regularly and have a chat at the stand. ”
You already notice that it is getting busier and attractive with all the new residents
“Most of what comes to me for a bike is younger,” says Marcel, “I think that’s because they are attracted to the rough and raw ambience of Amsterdam North. You can still do everything here without being limited, for example photo shoots at the container arch, dance choreographies or basketball on the new field, which by the way has been occupied every day until now! That’s the great thing about this place, there is always a positive atmosphere and there is always something happening.
Are there also more international poeple?
“Yes, I think that 70% of my customers are foreign, especially tourists,” Marcel continues, “The nice thing about it is that the people who come to me are actually always cheerful. They are going to do something fun. They rent a bicycle and go out with family or friends. ”
Did you manage to get something positive out of the last year?
Both of them sigh for a moment. “It was a pretty difficult year,” begins Ciska, “besides Corona, they were busy renovating here, which was not easy. I do miss how things were before the pandemic. But I have faith that it will all come back. Also because of the positive vibe that resides here, as soon as everything gets going again. ”
“It is indeed pretty quiet now”, Marcel adds, “but the positive thing is that when the festivals start playing here again, you will see that as soon as the music starts at 12 o’clock, a lot of people are very happy again and will come back to the NDSM wharf. I always think that’s a great time, even if you don’t earn that much anymore because people don’t rent a bike when they go to a festival. But you already notice now as well that it is getting busier and more attractive with all the new residents. There are also some B & Bs and hotels that opened, from which you see that people sometimes come to rent a bicycle. That gives me hope for the coming months.”
At Ciska you can order a delicious fish from Wednesday to Friday from 09.30 to 17.00, and on Saturday from 09.00 to 16.30. If you plan to continue touring Amsterdam Noord by bicycle, you can contact Marcel on-site from Tuesday to Saturday from 10.00 to 15.00. You can also return bicycles on Sundays and Mondays. For more info about the Ciska’s stand and NDSM Bikes, check the links below