The ‘cowboy jeans’
The first jeans advertising in the Netherlands was published in the daily newspaper ‘Het Limburgs Dagblad on February 1st in 1952’. The ‘cowboy jeans’ were undoubtedly advertised as heavy duty workwear with the many miners in mind that used to live in South Limburg, the Dutch coal mining region, close to the borders of Belgium and Germany.
Largest mining town in Europe
Coal mining in Southern Limburg has taken place since 1815. The city of Kerkrade, which had become the largest mining town in Europe had a massive influx of workers to take up jobs in the mines. Who came not only from all parts of the Netherlands but also from older mining areas in Germany, Belgium, France, Poland, Italy and elsewhere.
Marcel and Roger
For example Jozef Grivec who left the Mirna Peč Valley, southeast Slovenia in 1932. Heading to the Dutch coal fields to build a new future for his family. He and his sons found employment in the mines, except the youngest one, a truck driver, who tried some extra luck with selling jeans from door to door, while longing to open his own shop. Grivec‘s twin grandsons Marcel and Roger grew literally up between the Lee’s, Levi’s and Wrangler’s at the ‘Jeanspaleis’, the denim store that their parents opened in 1976 in Chevremont, Kerkrade. But times changed: the mining industry was closed down and jeans evolved from practical utility wear into the popular product we all know today.
Capturing the essence of denim products
In 1989 the 18 year old twins took over the jeansstore from their parents. “In selling a product that gets only better with age and wear, it was just a logical step for us to offer expert repair service as well. Which also started up the process of thinking about making our own pair of dry denim jeans”. Roger Grivec: “We’ve been fascinated by anything that has to do with denim since our childhood. In terms of fit and fabrics we’ve gained our skills and knowledge through more than 25 years of jeans trade. Repairing gave us an inside view into the product construction details, like a car mechanic in a garage”. Marcel Grivec: “in capturing the essence of the denim products we make, we use our own name as brand name combined with the name of the place were we are born, live and work. A brand name that is genuine, unique and memorable. Last but not least we’re lucky with the help of some of our friends… like Boy Bastiaens.
To understand the past is to understand us. It’s where our story started. A courageous decision generations ago, to find a better life elsewhere in the world. A better life that was found, right here in Chevremont. A better life that will continue to be found, all around the world.
2018 – More than blue
Cool Pete, Hower, Bricker and Locker: in 2018, Marcel and Roger decide to expand their jeans collection. Sweatshirts, T-shirts, shirts, polos and chinos: from now on Grivec Bros. is more than blue.
2016 - Launch of the Grivec Bros. label & store
Hard work and determination pay off. Grivec Bros. open their new store with a small atelier dedicated to the repair of their customer’s jeans. In March of that year, Grivec Bros. first pair of jeans is born: Cool Pete.
2010 - The dream to create a jeans-label
Marcel and Roger, now widely referred to as “the Grivec Brothers”, feel all their years of jeans repair and jeans trade have taught them every little detail they need to know to set up their own brand, and to be able to make the jeans they want but were never able to find. With the help of Boy Bastiaens their dream turns into reality. Boy creates the logo and graphic identity of the Grivec Bros. brand.
2009 - Introduction Care & Repair Service, ‘Dry till you die’
Marcel and Roger start repairing the jeans their customers previously bought at the store. A service which they name after their life motto ‘Dry till you die’; dedicated to anyone that wishes to never be separated from their favourite jeans. Marcel: “In selling a product that gets better with age and wear, it was a logical step for us to offer our customers expert repair service.”
2003 - “Jeans Institute”
Grivec Bros.’ passion for denim and hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. At this time of their life and career, the Jeanspaleis is widely acknowledged and referred to as “Jeans Institute”.
1990 – Reinvention
Marcel and Roger learn the craft of owning a jeans store rather quickly. They have to. They discover their passion and talent is in discovering, buying and selling unknown (rising) jeans brands. This leads to them being among the first ones to sell brands as G-Star, Diesel, Replay, Chipie and Liberto.
1989 - Grivec Bros. take-over
At 18-years of age, life forces Marcel and Roger to take over the 5 remaining jeans stores from their parents. With little experience in running a business, but with a passion for denim that bursts at its seams (and because they were practically raised in their parents’ jeans stores), the Grivec brothers roll up their sleeves and take the bull by the horns. They focus all of their energy on developing 1 core-store: their ‘home’ in Chevremont.
1979 - Multiple jeans stores
René opens his 11th multi-brand jeans store, now called ‘Jeanspaleis’. Whenever they’ve got a spare minute, Marcel and Roger help their parents out and quickly learn more about their passion for denim. However, from the age of 13 to the age of 16, the Grivec brothers’ lives take a different turn. As they are in the official Dutch national ski-selection, they live, train and study at boarding school in Austria.
1976 - First jeans store
René’s jeans business is exactly what people need. In 1976, he and his wife Willy open their first multi-brand jeans store ‘Blue Indigo’ in Chevremont. Marcel and Roger are fascinated by denim and practically grow up in their parents’ store.
1970s – Import Jeans
During one of his coal hopper drives, René is inspired to start selling jeans. He acts on his inspiration, and starts selling them door-to-door in Chevremont. In 1971 his wife Willy gives birth to twins: Marcel and Roger, a.k.a. the Grivec Bros.
1932 – Migration
Grivec Bros. grandfather, Jozef, leaves the Mirna Pec Valley in Slovenia. On the promise of a better future, he takes his family to the South of the Netherlands. Together with his sons he finds employment in the coalmines as a coalminer. Every one, except for his youngest son René, Grivec Brothers’ father. He continues to travel as a coal hopper car driver.