Boston Spar store adds to trophy cabinet with ‘grocery Oscar’

2014 Retail Industry Awards at the Grovesnor House Hotel. Awards presented by Andy Parsons and Andrew Skingley
2014 Retail Industry Awards at the Grovesnor House Hotel. Awards presented by Andy Parsons and Andrew Skingley

Staff at Spar London Road Bakery in Boston have added to their trophy cabinet with a prize at the ‘grocery sector Oscars’.

The family-run store picked up the ‘Most Improved Store’ crown at the Retail Industry Awards.

The award comes after it won the ‘Spar Shop of the Year’ award at a ceremony in Birmingham last year.

Judges were impressed with the way Spar Boston, which is supplied by Blakemore Trade Partners, had taken the initiative by polling customers on their shopping lists and favorite brands after Somerfield closed down – to ensure they could try to stock the ‘regulars’ they had been used to buying at the London Road store.

Another innovation the judges applauded was the strong interaction the shop enjoys with its customers on social media.

Locals asked for a charge-free cash machine and an expanded wine selection – both of which they have since launched.

One judge said: “They have taken the strength of the Spar brand, but have tailored it to meet local needs. It’s a real community outlet.”

The store has had a refit to expand to over 1,000sq ft.

All this hard work paid off – with the store seeing an increase in turnover and alcohol sales, as well as a huge 30 per cent increase in footfall, said Neil Mercer, Blakemore Trade Partners Sales Director.

“We are incredibly proud of Spar London Road Bakery,” said Mercer.

“The store encapsulates Spar’s community-focused ethos, while being a classic example of innovative and entrepreneurial success. The fact that the store is family-run and the success community-driven makes their win even more impressive.”

Jacqui Dales, owner of Spar London Road Bakery, said: “I’ve never felt so proud of my shop, staff, customers and town.

“It means so much to us to win ‘Most Improved Independent Store’ at the Retail Industry Awards. It’s great to be bringing another trophy back to Boston!”

The store’s award came as part of the Spar group’s top performance at the awards.

The group as a whole netted eight wins, and was named Symbol Group of the Year.

The shop was bought 34 years ago by Jacqui’s dad David Dales who still works there.

Last year the shop has received a coveted spot in the IAA Top 100 list for independent retailers in the UK and Ireland.