Nearly 400 SPAR delegates from around the world have come to the island this week to take part in the 62nd International SPAR Congress. They have been seeing first-hand how the business model has developed on the island of Gran Canaria with special attention to the newly opened SPAR Natural stores, which offer organic/ecological products and in which Gran Canaria is a pioneer.
The operations centre has been set up in the South, with delegations staying at the Villa del Conde de Meloneras hotel, while the congress was held on Wednesday at the ExpoMeloneras Palace of Congresses, nearby.
With groups of around one hundred at a time, the host and president of SPAR Gran Canaria, Ángel Medina, scheduled a series of visits to various stores. The first stop took delegates to see the freshly inaugurated SPAR Natural in the capital city Las Palmas, on Calle Juan Manuel Durán, which was the second such world pioneering store to open on the island just over two weeks ago.
Representatives from Ireland, Oman, Mongolia, Norway and Denmark, among many others, learned firsthand about the initiative launched by the daughters of Jesús Díaz, a member of SPAR Gran Canaria’s board of directors and owner of the chain of stores in the Mogán area.
The Díaz family’s new concept has put Gran Canaria at the forefront of world innovation for the brand. In collaboration with SPAR International, which has laid the groundwork for defining a concept that will now be extended to 48 countries around the globe in which SPAR is present, Diaz placed the popular little fishing-cum-tourist town of Arguineguín into the history books last January creating the first of what is being called one of the historic milestones for the SPAR brand.
On the South of Gran Canaria the first Natural SPAR opened its doors. “We are very surprised, very happy, because we are getting a spectacular response from the clientele,” said Diaz. So much so that “in three or four months” we will open a third establishment of this kind in Vecindario and a fourth is already being planned in Telde. The objective is to be in all the big urban areas of the Island to facilitate access to the more than 6,000 reference brands for “clients all over the Island”.
Diaz has said that it is not only a question of meeting demand for those who opt for ecological/orgnic food, but also of making life easier for those who suffer from “food intolerances” and who do not always find it easy to buy the foods they need. Consultations on “natural, Chinese or sports medicines, ayurveda or acupuncture”, are also offered by “independent professionals” to which SPAR facilitates use of its facilities.
The owner of SPAR Natural Gran Canaria explained that in this segment they focus to the maximum on “commitment to local production. All the fruit and vegetables are from here”, he explained.
SPAR is the world’s leading voluntary food retail chain. The business started with one Dutch store in 1932 and now comprises more than 12,000 stores in 42 countries on four continents.
The group’s success they say revolves around close co-operation between individual retailers and wholesalers at a local level in meeting the needs of their customers.
SPAR Spain was founded in 1959 and has expanded over time to cover both the mainland and the island areas, working with regional wholesalers to build a network of over 1,000 stores nationwide. The head office is located in Barcelona and from here, support is given to all partners developing the SPAR Brand.
SPAR Gran Canaria is a family owned business, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2016 and is a key employer on the island, renowned for its community involvement. A new Distribution Centre (DC) has been developed on the island to facilitate the expanding retail business which comprises company owned stores and licensed independent retailers.
One of the most exciting new store openings took place on the island of Gran Canaria in January with the launch of the world’s first SPAR Natural store by partner, SPAR Mogán, who last year celebrated their 25th anniversary. SPAR Natural is a new health store concept that specialises in organic foods as well as vegan, vegetarian, gluten, dairy and wheat free products. The food ranges are complemented by an array of hygiene products and cosmetics. Covering an area of 240m2, the store also has a consultation area where customers can book sessions with professional nutritionists, physiotherapists and various other experts from complimentary disciplines.