A new SPAR retail outlet opened its doors in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape on Tuesday, with the first customers welcomed by fanfare and opening specials.
Partners Jill and Guy White, assisted by SPAR Eastern Cape’s director of retail operations Mike de st Pern, cut the ribbon late morning to signal the official start of business for SPAR Oak Cottage.
Unperturbed by the icy morning, a group of customers excitedly queued outside the store on African Street to make sure they were first to sample the new offering.
“We wanted to give our Grahamstown customers a great shopping experience,” said White, who also owned the KWIKSPAR that used to be on the premises.
“We’ve been trying to get a nice big SPAR in Grahamstown for the past nine years. We outgrew the old one quickly.”
White said the development of the new SPAR had taken a year and half, but she was thrilled with the result.
“We’ve created a theatre here; there’s a lot on offer in addition to the usual groceries.”
The new shop features a pizza oven, fresh burgers made on demand, pancakes, a smoothie bar and a Bean Tree Café for coffee lovers.
White said SPAR Oak Cottage – which opened just in time for the National Arts Festival from June 30 to July 10 – would serve the community 24 hours per day, seven days a week.
For a taste of history, she encouraged visitors to pop by and see the facade of the 1820 settlers house that was preserved within the store.
“To protect the heritage site on which the store was built, we designed the smoothie bar around it.”