08 Nov

Selling groceries is just not enough for Mark Anderson. The seasoned retailer wants to leave a legacy, which is exactly what he plans to do with his new SuperSpar at uMhlanga Ridge’s Park Square

Let’s face it, retail has become boring,” says Mark Anderson. “I want to change that by doing something no one has ever done before.” Odds are that hanging an aeroplane from the ceiling of his new SuperSpar is a global first. And we’re not talking just any old aeroplane – Mark found a Saab 91 Safir which was built in Sweden and used to train Swedish air force pilots in WW2.

To reinforce the aviation theme customers will also be welcomed at a reception desk created from the cockpit of a Dakota. Aeroplane wings will serve as tables, while scooters will “jump” out from the walls, which have also been decorated with parts of a 275-year-old house imported from India. The tiles in the mosaic floor at the entrance were painstakingly imported from France.

“The intention is to exceed customer expectation at every level,” says Mark. “You can buy baked beans anywhere, so the trick is to sell them better than anywhere else.”

With over 40 years’ experience in the retail industry, Mark clearly knows his stuff. After 20 years with Makro he joined the Spar group, buying his first store – the Chelsea Spar in New Germany – in 1997. Then came the uMhlanga Spar which he converted to a SuperSpar around seven years ago.

However, taking on the new 1 500m² anchor tenant store at Park Square would not have been possible without the support of his three partners – sons Travis and Tyrone, and manager Chris Von Allemann.

“Having the boys involved has taken some of the pressure off me and made it easier to grow,” says Mark. “It’s about leaving a family legacy by making grocery shopping entertaining and exciting.”

The uMhlanga store certainly sets the tone with its 1971 VW “passion wagon” gracing the entrance, attention to detail and reputation for being “the cleanest store in the world”.

“I hope to continue my vision of changing the way people shop,” he said. “I was the first person to put a chemist in a supermarket and a lounge suite in a bottle store, so why not an aeroplane?

“Our driving force is to reshape how locals view their daily shopping experience,” says Anderson. “Park Square is an ideal environment for us to grow our vision to bring to market the very best concept retail offerings in KZN, if not the country.

“We are also offering 160 undercover parking bays, so customers can walk straight into the store without having to navigate an entire shopping centre.”

Shoppers will also be treated to a store which offers great service, 60% fresh produce, gifting and a large delicatessen offering a variety of convenience “home replacement” meals.

“The entire concept – of our store and Park Square as a whole – is going to be something of an eye-opener and a bit of shocker for Durban,” said Mark. “We encourage you to join us for the opening in November to have a look at the legacy the Anderson boys will leave behind.”

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