The Hollandsche Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij Amsterdam, or H.E.M.A., opened its first department store in Amsterdam on 4 November 1926. Founders Leo Meyer and Arthur Isaac wanted to open a department store for "ordinary" people. Before this, department stores were very much aimed at wealthy people and most store personnel spoke French. HEMA, as it would later become known, was the first department store of its kind in the Netherlands. Products were priced at 10, 25 or 50 cents. And from day one, the essence of HEMA was defined as: optimistic, unique, clear, reliable, accessible and as typically Dutch. In 1927, HEMA opened its first store was opened outside Amsterdam and just a year later there were ten HEMA stores in the Netherlands. In the 1950s, HEMA was the first franchise organisation in the Netherlands and is still the largest franchise operator in the Netherlands. From 1958 onwards, HEMA picked up the pace of its expansion, rapidly opening new stores across the country. Then in 1984, HEMA opened its first store abroad, in Belgium.
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