For almost 90 years, SPAR has been at the heart of local communities, meeting the needs of local shoppers, often as multi-generational family businesses. There has never been a greater need for SPAR’s community support as we continue to face difficulties and uncertainties across the globe as the pandemic continues. From the volcano eruption in La Palma, flooding in regions of Europe and Asia, and civil unrest in South Africa, our SPAR retailers have rallied to support each other and their communities.
SPAR South Africa
In July, communities in South Africa were disturbed when riots rapidly spread across several provinces. SPAR retailers, their employees, and the wider SPAR Group Ltd business in South Africa was heavily impacted by the unrest.
During this period, the resilience of SPAR people and their entrepreneurial spirit came to the fore. The leadership shown by the management team was reflected also by the way in which they supported their local communities. Bravery, compassion, and strength was seen as SPAR colleagues across the nation came together to support those who had lost their businesses and livelihoods.
Of the 184 stores across all formats impacted by civil unrest, 131 stores had reopened by 30 September 2021. This shows the strength of SPAR retailers and employees who found ways to help communities even when procuring goods was difficult and travel was challenging.
Natural disasters in Europe
During the European summer, a number of SPAR retailers were faced with disruption as flooding and a volcano eruption led to store closures. In each market, the leadership shown from central offices to local retailers reflected their desire to lessen the impact on the communities by providing job security and stability during an uncertain time.
On La Palma, SPAR independent retailers, the Barretto-Cruz family, a key employer on the island, immediately provided community support to families in need as well as to their employees. In addition to closely monitoring the lava flow, assessing the safety of customers and employees, the SPAR team focused on assisting primary producers facing challenges with their harvest as a result of the eruption.
SPAR retailers continue to look forward with purpose, belief, and unwavering optimism to lessen the impact their communities have undergone.
The pandemic continues to cause unprecedented problems for businesses as it wages on and looks to be with us for some time. The continued effect on retail, however, has highlighted the importance of neighbourhood retailers to local communities. At the start of the pandemic, SPAR was quick to act, creating a global COVID-19 emergency response network across the four continents in which the brand is active. This response network was critical to working together to help share practical tools and responses worldwide which supported the implementation of key solutions with speed. Throughout the pandemic, SPAR country organisations have continued to partner with local charities, ensuring the delivery of groceries to those most at risk.
Despite the disruptions of the pandemic and other causes to business operations, SPAR retailers’ commitment to endure speaks to their resilience, entrepreneurial spirit, and intense awareness of their role in local communities.