The first Association des Commerçants de Wavre was established in 1930 by Camille Magnée. It was called Wavre-Extension and brought together business people from the rues Haute, Commerce, Bruxelles and Charles Sambon and from the place Cardinal Mercier.
From 1932 onwards, Wavre-Extension organised an Autumn Fair with stalls and a market. For the first time Dodgem cars manufactured by M. Souplis, from Paris, were installed in the square. Two years later, the traces of the organisation remained in the form of a free end-of-year raffle. As soon as the 1940-1945 war had come to an end, Wavre-Extension resumed its activities. In particular we can pinpoint the "Grand corso fleuri de la Victoire" (“Floral Grand Victory Procession”) on 8 July 1945. At the same time, the association of traders from the rue du Pont du Christ, place du Sablon and adjacent streets was founded. Its first aim was to reconstruct the Pont du Christ. This aim was achieved in 1948. The first Foire du Laetare (Laetare Show) was held in the place du Sablon (A. Bosch) in 1951. For 24 years the Chairman was the late Robert Baden, with the association continuing to hold its free end-of-year raffle together with fairy-lights. It was imitated by "Wavre-Extension".
In 1960, the two associations merged. In 1969, the newly-founded "Gilde de Wavre" (Wavre Guild) did little to disturb the life of the association. René Libouton took over from Robert Boden. In 1971, Georges Stoufs was the chairman. With great ceremony he introduced Tintin and Monsieur Météo during the end-of-year festivities. Two years later, the project for a pedestrianised rue du Commerce was launched. It would not become a reality for another seventeen years ...
Raymond Demortier became the Chairman of the association in 1974. He introduced a completely new dimension to the ACW. While he was Chairman a car park was made for traders (now the “parking des Carabiniers”). It was inaugurated on 6 December 1976.
In 1978, the ACW became a real crowd success when it organised its first market at the end of June.
One notable date in local business life concerned establishing the Galerie des Carmes in 1979. In fact, 72 trade outlets opened overnight in the Maca area alone.
In 1980, after Jean Oger took over briefly as Chairman, the ACW began a new era under the impetus of "young" businessmen.
Philippe Duquaine and Albert Helsen, respectively, were the next Chairmen.
Between March and September 1984, Dominique Pierre took over as Chairman.
In January 1988, in the course of a general meeting, René Somville became the chairman. His main aim was to stabilise the association’s finances. In December 1996, he resigned for personal reasons. He was replaced as Chairman by Anne Masson. She was the first "female chairman" of the association. She occupied this post for three years. In September 1999, Bernadette Pierre took over as Chairman.
All these male and female Chairmen surrounded by numerous volunteers allowed the ACW to become a recognised body. They helped to spread the shopping centre’s fame beyond the province.
Isn’t it high time to think about giving it the title of "royal"?
The association in 2000
Bernadette Pierre was a brilliant chairman for 3 years.
Her deputy, Frédéric Vaessen, took over from her between 2002 and 2006, when Jacques Martin threw himself into the challenge.
After three years Marc-André Lambot continued activities in 2009.
One year later, he passed on the torch to Emile Delvaux who extended the team, making the different groups responsible for a specific area of activity.
Those currently in charge are as follows:
Emile Delvaux, Chairman,
Bernadette Pierre, Deputy Chairman,
Joël Stevens, Treasurer,
Secretaries Véronique Van Den Abeele and Clothilde Taymans,
Team responsible for decorations: Catherine André, Damaris Meyer, Jacques Martin,
IT team: Xavier Cession, Thierry Schoon, Olivier Plennevaux,
Street representatives: Zélia Brumagne, Daniel Swysen.
All roads lead to Wavre
Where the roads crossed, over the centuries an important commercial centre developed, and was called Wavre.
The name of the streets reflects the way visitors have arrived from ...everywhere: rue de Nivelles, rue and chaussée de Bruxelles, rue and chaussée de Namur, chaussée de Louvain, chaussée de Huy and even Boulevard de l'Europe!
If all these roads lead to our town that means it also has very strong links with the railway and numerous bus routes covering the whole of the Brabant Walloon region.
A thousand reasons for coming to Wavre
Throughout the country, Wavre’s commercial reputation is well-known: 600 specialist businesses gathered together in an area the size of a "pocket handkerchief".
The tourist industry inextricably links Wavre with Walibi, but a well-informed visitor won’t forget to touch Maca’s buttocks.
The development of areas of zoning, set aside for actual businesses, attracts both investors and jobs.
As the capital of Brabant Wallon, Wavre also provides administrative services for this lively province.