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SPAR Local Champions: Tomás and José Barreto

February 19, 2018 IN THE CATEGORY: Feature articles

Father and son team, Tomás and José Barreto, are the main owners of SPAR La Palma. The Barreto’s have been part of the SPAR family for 37 years and we caught up with them to find out more about their business, which has become a fundamental part of life on the island of La Palma.

The background of our Local Champions

The Barreto family started working in the food industry as wholesalers in the 1950s and have represented many important food brands on La Palma – the most north-westerly of Spain’s Canary Islands that is home to 80,000 people and visited by many more tourists each year.

Over the years, the Barreto’s have adapted their offering to meet current trends and in 1981, they evolved their food business by joining the SPAR family. Today, the family owns a total of 25 SPAR stores on the island – increasing employment opportunities and growing retail skills. They have also opened a Distribution Centre, which meets the needs of their growing chain of stores.

Local sourcing strategy

SPAR La Palma has an important link with the community it serves, sourcing much of its produce from local producers and providing jobs to many of the local citizens.

A total of 13% of purchases and one third of all fresh fruit and vegetables are sourced from local producers. One of the most important local products that the team sells is goats cheese with sales generating more than €1 million each year.

The soul of SPAR La Palma

“Our people are the heart and soul of SPAR La Palma,” said José. “Life can be challenging and we like to provide them with little extras that help them in their daily lives outside of work.”

As such, the following incentives are offered to SPAR La Palma employees:

  • 20% of the company’s earnings are shared with employees
  • Staff are offered an advance to buy school materials, which they can pay back over a period of nine months
  • Employees competing in sports events receive support from the company to buy sports equipment
  • Good performance is recognised and rewarded and an annual career path is offered

Omnichannel retailing

Staying up-to-date with the latest retail trends, SPAR La Palma has created a new online platform. As part of its marketing activities to boost sales and customer loyalty, SPAR La Palma offers customers who shop online coupons to use instore. In this way, the SPAR La Palma team continues to grow its business and set solutions in place to thrive in an ever-changing market place.


This story was first published in issue 3 2017 of our quarterly magazine, Contact International.

To read more stories from this edition, follow this link.