Spar set to mark 60th anniversary with 300th store opening

Spar Coagh owners Graham Johnson and Andy Davis celebrate the store being the 300th Spar to open in Northern Ireland. Included is Henderson Group joint managing director Martin Agnew. Picture: Matt Mackey/Presseye
Gary McDonald Business Editor

FROM what was a modest "corner shop" 60 years ago, Spar has just opened its 300th store, underlining the dominance of the Henderson Group in Northern Ireland's grocery landscape.

Andy Davis and Graham Johnston of Spar 77 Retail have invested close to £500,000 in their Coagh outlet in Co Tyrone, bringing with it 24 jobs.

The shop sits on the site formerly owned by John and Pearl McGaw, where they ran their motor store for 47 years.

It is the fifth store launch this year by Henderson Group, which has a strategy to open 13 outlets.

Paddy Doody, sales & marketing director at Henderson Group - which last year had sales of more than £900 million - described it as a momentous occasion for the business and symbolised the opportunities the brand has brought to local entrepreneurs.

“Spar has brought countless opportunities for entrepreneurs, independent retailers and local suppliers since it arrived in 1961, and no more so than in recent years.

“The concept has evolved and developed as consumer shopping behaviour and demands have changed.”

He added: “Spar is an international network, and our retailers thrive from it on a local level. We offer hundreds of locally sourced fresh ranges and produce which not only meet demand but support our thriving agri-food industry, providing profitable businesses for our retailers setting them apart from their competitors.

“We have great ambitions for the remainder of 2021 and will continue to open stores and supermarkets that have been built with the local shopper in mind, including Spar Coagh which represents the next era for Spar and its fresh food offering.”

Shoppers in Spar Coagh can expect aisles of fresh bays packed with locally sourced products, including 'enjoy local' and The Greengrocers own brands from Henderson Wholesale.

Complementing the fresh offering will be 77 Retail's Green Deli serving hot breakfasts, home-made lunches and carvery dinners, plus counters from Maud's Ice Cream and Arc Wines off-licence.

Andy Davis said: “We're very proud to be operating this milestone store for the brand, and on a site that has been serving the community for nearly 50 years already.

“We opened Spar Cadogan in 2010 and since then have built our own network of Spar stores across Northern Ireland, employing over 140 people across six sites.

“We are passionate about bringing an amazing shopping experience made for those local communities and developing careers within our retail industry.”

The Coagh store was officially opened by Andrew and Graham, alongside Henderson Group joint managing directors Martin and Geoffry Agnew and chairman, John Agnew, who were joined by previous site owners John and Pearl McGaw.

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