Taken during the prize-giving function on 25 July, in the picture are, from left to right, Messrs Jerome Jacobs (managing director of marketing at Spar North Rand), Luke Enslin (owner of Soutpansberg Spar), Chris de Beer (store manager at Soutpansberg Spar) and Craig Records (managing director of Spar operations North Rand). Photo supplied.
Date: 05 August 2018 By: Andries van Zyl
Soutpansberg Spar in Louis Trichardt, the town’s “newest addition” to the local Spar family, walked away with the Spar group’s Store of the Year award for 2018.
This is no small feat for a store that only opened in April 2015. More impressively, Soutpansberg Spar outperformed some 70 other Spar franchises in the North Rand area, which stretches from Pretoria northwards. It does not, however, include the Super- and KwikSpar stores with a combined total of some 150 stores.
Soutpansberg Spar was handed this prestigious award on Wednesday, 25 July, during the group’s membership meeting at The Theatre on the Track at Kyalami. “Winning this award is fantastic,” said the owner of the local franchise, Mr Luke Enslin during an interview on Monday.
Enslin explained that his store was judged on numerous criteria. These, among others, included the overall shop impression, the group’s “Ladder of Success” criteria, stock-buying loyalty towards Spar, overall hygiene (handled by an independent company) and annual turnover.
It was, however, not an easy road to success for Enslin and his team at Spar to achieve this feat. He said that after buying the former OK Grocer and converting it into Soutpansberg Spar, residents had had to wait almost a full year to enjoy the complete range of everything the new Spar had to offer. This included an expensive but necessary total revamp of the existing store, which “officially” only opened in April 2016. The revamp entailed bringing in a well-known deli (now proving to be very popular), putting more focus on fresh produce and expanding the range of delights in the bakery. “We also introduced several Spar concepts, such as the Freshline brand in the fruit, vegetable and bakery section, the Tender & Tasty brand line in the butchery and Bean Tree in the coffee shop,” said Enslin.
Apart from investing in the outward appearance of the new Soutpansberg Spar, Enslin also invested heavily in staff training. “Because all the training is done in Pretoria, and it is too far for staff to travel there frequently, Spar offers online training courses. There are several modules that staff members must complete that they are credited for and receive a certificate,” said Enslin.
Regarding future plans for Soutpansberg Spar, Enslin indicated that these will include the opening of a Spar Tops store on the premises immediately adjacent to his store, which previously housed Safari Caltex. “We also hope to expand the number of parking bays in front of the store, which have been a huge headache in the past. Regarding this we would like to thank our clients for their patience and support,” said Enslin.
As for the immediate future, Enslin and his team are holding thumbs for the store, which will compete in the Spar group’s national competition on 2 August. “We are only one of six Spar stores, again excluding the Super- and KwikSpar stores, to compete,” said Enslin. He added that if they win there, it would be even more impressive for them. “When you are Spar of the Year, all the suppliers want to do business with you,” said Enslin.
Andries joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in April 1993 as a darkroom assistant. Within a couple of months he moved over to the production side of the newspaper and eventually doubled as a reporter. In 1995 he left the newspaper group and travelled overseas for a couple of months. In 1996, Andries rejoined the Zoutpansberger as a reporter. In August 2002, he was appointed as News Editor of the Zoutpansberger, a position he holds until today.