As owners of the SUPERSPAR uMhlanga Rocks for the past 17 Christmasses, the Anderson family have perfected the art of serving a community that relies on them for variety, quality and a festive destination retail experience that’s above and beyond, writes Maggie Wittstock.
What does it take to prep, cook, glaze, decorate, box and add a personal label to over 400 gammons in the two days before Christmas? Answer – the entire Anderson clan and their “extended family” of staff at SUPERSPAR uMhlanga Rocks.
Driven to exceed customers’ expectations, the team puts in late nights and goes the extra mile to satisfy their customers’ needs.
“This is going to be our 18th Christmas as owners,” says Mark Anderson who took over the ailing store in 2005. “We go all-out to make sure our regular customers and holidaymakers can obtain everything they need, plus those extraordinary gifts, decor and treats, at this time of the year. A lot of thought, effort and planning go into our Christmas offering,” he says.
Although by far their busiest time of the year, the store is an all-year upmarket destination emporium, which was Mark’s vision for the store.
Having autonomy within the franchise set-up, experience from 40 years in retail, as well as a knack of connecting with customers on the floor, Mark set about creating a destination retail experience. Our buyers source leading health products, imported confectionary, exclusive canned foods, cereals, spices and sauces and the best steak fillets around. The deli will have you filling your basket and the decor/gifting are so on-trend, it takes just seconds to spot what’s hot.
At the spotless butchery, Nicky helps customers to select cuts of their choice and the range of dry-aged meat is top drawer.
“We’re always looking for what’s next,” Mark says. “As tastes and preferences change, we’re nimble enough to keep ahead of the pack. With all of us involved, there are a few perspectives and everyone brings their strengths and skills.”
“With family, trust is implicit, and responsibility is shared so there’s a good balance of spontaneity, consistency and continuity.” If you’ve been to our uMhlanga Rocks store, you will know at least a few of the crew. There’s Mark, his wife Colleen, her son Tyrone Kerr, his wife Camilla, Travis, his wife Romey, and the youngest son, Keegan. Chris, as a stakeholder, plays a regional role between both the uMhlanga Rocks and Park Square stores.
Keegan spearheads marketing and manages the store’s media. “Within hours of posting our new luxury platters on social media, orders were flying in!” says Keegan. “We know our customers like to do things differently, so our platters include an Asian option, an awesome vegetarian platter, and we add touches like panko prawns.
”Apart from gammons and Christmas delights, customers can look forward to the launch of Spar’s convenient online shopping app, SPAR2U, in December. “As a flagship store, we’ve been piloting the service and look forward to doing deliveries over the festive season,” says Mark.
Freshening up the look and lighting, but staying with the soft, airy colonial feel, SuperSpar uMhlanga Rocks is undergoing a phased revamp.
The SuperSpar uMhlanga Rocks managed to stay open every day during KZN’s floods, riots and Covid, which is a testament to the family’s commitment to the community and unflagging support from loyal staff, customers and suppliers. “It’s so much more than just a shop and a job,” says Mark.