What started as a confectionery in 1923 on the majestic Isabellalei in Antwerp has evolved into the producer of marzipan, fondant and ground almonds par excellence. Since the very beginning, we have been focused on one thing: make our product according to our tried and tested recipes. We like to call it our Belgian expertise. We are flexible with customisable production and are able to make the best marzipan for you, but we are always uncompromising in terms of the quality of the raw materials and our production process. Our employees are dedicated professionals but above all, they love what they do. They go above and beyond. You can taste that result of that dedication in all our products. It really is the best of the past with today’s relentless drive. That’s what makes our products so irresistible.
1874: Our extraordinary product goes back many generations. The first person that plays a leading role is Frans Sleeubus. He was a baker in Schelle and was married to Anna Celis. They married and had three children. One of them was Louis, who was born in the first year of the 20th century. He started his apprenticeship with his father at the age of twelve, first as a delivery person on the daily rounds and later as a baker’s apprentice in production.
1922: After Louis married Maria Bastiaens, he was looking to start his own business in the big city. One year later, his dream comes true. He took over a confectionery on the Isabellalei 94 (formerly 82) in Antwerp, one of the busiest shopping streets at that time. His father taught him all he needed to know about baking, but was that going to be enough to be successful on his own?
1923: On March 5, to be precise, Louis opened the doors to his shop. With small steps, a big heart and artisanal sweets, he started to gradually make a name for himself in Antwerp. The word on the street was that he made the best marzipan in town. Well… let’s just say that the residents of Antwerp were not exactly shy about spreading the news.
1930: Thanks to the word of mouth and the brisk trade, Louis was looking to expand his shop. He moved to the adjacent building at number 92 (formerly 80) and started the Usine de Massepain Sleeubus L. Amandelen en Suiker (The Sleeubus L. Almonds and Sugar Company); before long, customer are lining up outside.
1951: Tragedy strikes. Louis is tragically killed while on holiday on the northern Italian coast. A landslide takes place during a swim with his children Annette and Joseph and a family friend. Scared and out of self-preservation, a 12-year-old Italian child grabs on to Louis and they both go under. Louis is able to save the child but he ends up drowning. An impressive funeral was held in Schelle, where he was lauded for his political and socio-cultural engagement.
1959: During the first couple of years after the passing of Louis, Jef, his younger brother and master baker takes care of the business. In 1959, the second generation of Sleeubus takes over. Joseph, Louis’s son, and Herbert Bossuyt, the husband of Louis’ daughter Mariette, join the business. Massepain Sleeubus LLC was born. The continuation of this delicacy was guaranteed.
1975: Herbert Bossuyt passes away. Joseph Sleeubus is the only manager at the time. Herbert’s son-in-law, Jacques Van der Planken, came on board as assistant manager in 1977 and gradually took the lead in production and also took care of quality control. A new production line with three beautiful copper boilers was started in 1978 due to the success of the fondant.
1986: Heidi Sleeubus, Joseph’s oldest daughter, and third generation Sleeubus, takes over the reins of Massepain Sleeubus and will remain the face of the company at the Isabellalei until the end of 2019. Upon Joseph’s retirement, Guy Bell, Heidi’s husband, joins the day-to-day management.
2018: Following a time-honoured tradition at the property at Isabellalei 92, lunch every day is had with members of the family. During one of the many conversations about the future, there’s talk about the succession. After an informal poll, Frederic and Christoph, the two sons of Jacques, together with Katleen, Joseph’s youngest daughter, show an interest in continuing the family business. Bart Peelmans, a friend of the family since the 90s and someone who earned his stripes in the food industry, is asked to further shape the operational management of the company and guide it into the 21st century. We aim to keep going, with respect for the past, and an eye towards the future, together with an incredible team of talented, passionate and experienced employees.