Independent SPAR retailer in UK receives royal recognition

December 7, 2021 IN THE CATEGORY: Awards and prizes, People

It’s not every day a SPAR store gets a royal visitor, but that was the honour for the Tinnion family in Devizes when Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, paid a visit to the store which has served the community for 60 years.

The Duchess called into the store during a series of engagements in Wiltshire. She made a special point of recognising their efforts throughout the pandemic after they did an outstanding job to support local food producers with their shop.

Owner Derek Tinnion gave a tour of the store, introducing Camilla to three local producers before presenting her with a small hamper of local produce. The Duchess also met a delighted 95-year-old Irene Tinnion, who ran the store before Derek bought it 8 years ago.

The SPAR store and post office has been run by the Tinnion family since 1960 when Irene and her late husband John moved from London to Wiltshire and took over the business.

“The Duchess was so nice and understood what we were all about, being a community store,” said Derek. “I can’t get over the lovely comments we’ve received on Facebook since the visit, and it is very nice to see all the locals come together. The last couple of years have been very difficult, but everyone has been fantastic.”

He said: “We have been at the heart of this community for more than 60 years and 9 family members are involved in running it today. It was a wonderful day to receive a visit from the Duchess. She was very keen to hear about our hard work during the pandemic.”

For six months staff worked around the clock to replenish stock and ensure uninterrupted supply. A free delivery for the elderly and the vulnerable during the pandemic was started which is still being provided.

Source: SPAR UK

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The UK became a SPAR member in 1956 when SPAR International granted the SPAR licence to a group of independent wholesalers. There are now five regional partners in the UK. A central office in London provides national marketing and buying services for the group. 

SPAR has led the highly competitive convenience market in the UK for many years. Always innovative, the five regional partners have continued to grow the brand. SPAR UK comprises independently owned licensed retailers and company-owned stores. These include forecourts, airports, train stations, city centres, and local neighbourhood stores. 

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