Independent Dutch SPAR store overcoming today’s obstacles

March 29, 2023

Independent Dutch SPAR store overcoming today’s obstacles


Edwin and Diana van Holland, SPAR Netherlands merchants who add local value in Glashaven, Rotterdam, cater to a sizable younger customer base and changing buying habits. The ground floor of a newly constructed student housing complex houses the SPAR convenience store, which is a short stroll from Erasmus University in Rotterdam. A one-of-a-kind shopping experience catered to the requirements of its clients is provided by SPAR Glashaven.
post-epidemic difficulties
Although Edwin and Diana are optimistic about their business, running a store during the pandemic was not without its difficulties. Even after the pandemic, retailers are having more trouble because of the general price increases brought on by rising energy, cost of living, and inflationary pressures today, according to Edwin.

Concerns about the viability of retailers as a result of the sudden quadrupling of energy prices are especially acute for independent retailers who are prohibited by local law from receiving any assistance.

The lack of employees, which is especially acute in the hospitality and retail industries, has had an impact on SPAR Glashaven, where the team has shrunk from 20 employees in November 2017 to just 10 today. It became more difficult to provide the delivery services that retailers take great pleasure in due to the industry-wide shortage of workers brought on by the pandemic. As more customers prefer to purchase in-person due to the Tosti Club offer and coffee corner offered in this store, online ordering has decreased. Diana places a special emphasis on the food service options and is thrilled that their investment in these areas is luring students and office workers back into the shop.

The team makes sure that the SPAR store is available seven days a week by cooperating closely. According to Edwin in a SPAR International interview, the retail couple’s enthusiasm and drive for their business keep them going.

Providing for their clients
As SPAR Glashaven has observed, there has been a significant shift towards online purchasing in the post-COVID-19 world. Almost everything that is provided in the store can now be ordered online by the customer, either for delivery or pick up. The younger clientele of SPAR Glashaven prioritises convenience over all else because of the store’s close proximity to the institution. For students who are constantly on the go, quick-to-make but still largely healthful products offer a convenient choice.

Edwin van Holland, a SPAR retailer in Glashaven, has spent time learning about his customers’ requirements. He consistently goes above and beyond to make in-store shopping better and anticipates what young people will want when they go shopping. Given that this clientele comprises the bulk of the store’s patrons, the retailer tries with its food offerings to satisfy them. For instance, Edwin caters to the younger customer by providing a variety of soups at a sample station.

Public Spirit
SPAR Glashaven has effectively assimilated into the neighbourhood and gives back in numerous ways. Convenience stores are evolving from simple neighbourhood supermarkets to become one-stop shops that can satisfy all of a customer’s requirements. With the advent of internet shopping, young people and students can shop more quickly, which will help them during their busy days. Even though older customers are not the store’s main demographic, the merchant has not forgotten about them. In collaboration with the Rotterdam Municipality, SPAR Glashaven holds a neighbourhood coffee hour every two weeks on Tuesdays where senior shoppers can mingle and enjoy coffee and cake. This is just one example of how Edwin and Diana support the neighbourhood.

Edwin van Holland was pleasantly surprised to learn that SPAR Glashaven customers were ready to contribute to the business. When 64-year-old Helma, a frequent customer at SPAR Glashaven, noticed how hard the staff was working, she enquired as to what she could do to assist. She now assists in organising shelves as a helper. The neighbourhood of SPAR Glashaven has not neglected to support the store that works so hard for them.

SPAR Netherlands as a source

Read more SPAR Netherlands stories here.

Concerning SPAR Netherlands
Adriaan van Well, a Dutch wholesaler, and 16 independent stores created the SPAR Brand in the Netherlands in 1932. It was founded as a nonprofit grocery chain known as DESPAR, which is an abbreviation for the organisation’s motto, Door Eendrachtig Samenwerken Profiteren Allen Regelmatig, which translates to All Benefit from Joint Cooperation Regularly.

The support for stores operating across the nation is given from the Head Office and Distribution Center in Waalwijk. Customers’ requirements are met by various store formats throughout the day. With a strong emphasis on offering convenience in all its forms, more than 450 stores are currently available across the nation.