SPAR History

Going down in history

Back in 1932 in the Netherlands, an inspired wholesaler with a vision for the future named Adriaan van Well, changed the world of retail shopping as we know it with the development of his organisation DESPAR. DESPAR was a word created out of the slogan "Door Endrachtig Samenwerken Profiteren Allen Regelmatig", which translated into English means "all will benefit from united co-operation". Indeed this is exactly what Adriaan van Well managed to achieve. The idea was simple: unite the efforts of both independent wholesaler and retailer in order to mitigate the effects of grocery chains which were fast taking over the market.

The name of his organisation may have changed slightly over the years but the overall message on which it is based has remained the same. And it is this very thing that has seen the organisation grow as it has, spreading into 35 countries and 5 continents around the world.

progression of SPAR logos

SPAR South Africa

Here in South Africa, the story gets even richer. At the beginning of the 1960s, eight wholesalers got together and decided to introduce the SPAR concept into the country. In 1963 it was launched to service some 500 small retailers and now, some 46 years later, the SPAR Group Ltd. operates out of six modern distribution centres and services over 800 SPAR stores across Southern Africa.

one of the first SPAR stores

The SPAR organisation is made up of two types of members: the SPAR retailers who are the independent store owners and the SPAR Distribution Centres, which provide leadership and services to the retailers. Both member types belong to the SPAR Guild of Southern Africa, a non-profit company created to co-ordinate and develop SPAR in Southern Africa. The members all pay subscriptions to the Guild, which then uses the money to facilitate advertising and promotion of SPAR.

With a deep and inspiring history such as this, is it any wonder that SPAR is looking to the future with great anticipation and excitement. It can only hold good things because 'Life's Great' after all.