Can you walk us through your retail journey?
I have been in the retail industry for almost 15 years, seven of which have been with SPAR. I am currently the manager of INTERSPAR Citypark in Ljubljana and have been in this position since 2015. Before moving to this store, I was the manager of INTERSPAR Vič, also located in Ljubljana.
Before joining SPAR, I worked as an Export Sales Manager, responsible for a number of different markets. After a number of years in the position, I felt it was time for a change. I saw an opening to work with SPAR Slovenia and jumped at the chance to apply. To my delight, I was hired and I haven’t looked back since.
What does your average day at work entail?
My main focus is my team – guiding them through their tasks, helping them find solutions to their challenges and motivating them to give their best.
I normally start my day by reviewing the previous day’s turnover and prior to opening the store, I check that everything is in place, paying special attention to the fresh food sections and making sure that promotional items are correctly marked. The rest of my time is mostly spent on human resource management, operational duties and supplier liaison.
What are the key challenges of your role?
I have one single response to this – the competitive market. Stores around us keep popping up and the biggest challenge is keeping our offer both interesting and appealing. Having said this, we are located in the biggest shopping centre in Slovenia, meaning that we immediately bring something special to the market with our broad product range and services. Through our innovative national marketing campaigns, we have built strong customer loyalty.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing our employees happy and satisfied in their roles and of course, receiving praise from our customers. Team management is probably the most important part of my job – the most challenging but also the most rewarding. I manage a team of over 200 people, which requires being a good coach, mentor, listener and planner all in one. Over the years, I have seen that I can rely on my team. They have always been 100% committed, doing all that is necessary and more.
One of the highlights for me was the successful renovation of our store in 2015. We gave it a new look and feel, repositioning departments and creating a clean and open layout that is easy to navigate. It took us six months to complete with a lot of hard work and dedication from the team. The end result, however, was well worth all the effort and the process forged a tighter bond within our team.
Ultimately, it is my colleagues that make my job so rewarding. We work well together and have fun whilst doing so.
What sets SPAR apart from its competitors?
I think it’s definitely our services and our relationship with our customers. We always try to go the extra mile and get involved in the community – something which our customers really appreciate.
We donate to a local women’s shelter and a charity called “Anina Zvezdica” (Ana’s Star). We also make a monthly contribution to a charity called “Zveza Prijateljev Mladine” (Association of Friends and Youth). The most rewarding moment is getting a thank you letter from someone we have been able to help. I think this personal touch is what really sets us apart from other retailers in the market.
We will continue to give our best to make the shopping experience for our customers so special that they keep coming back.
This story was first published in Issue 1 2018 of our quarterly magazine, Contact International.
To read more stories from this edition, follow this link.