Their supermarket, located in a
village near Avignon, is not only appreciated because of a good
range of private label products but also for the wide selection of
fresh fruit and vegetables as well as wine from the region. The
enthusiastic owners interact with their customers and aim to meet
their every need. They even offer a delivery service of their own
tapenade and the famous wine, Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Can you tell us something
Benjamin: My father ran a large Casino
supermarket, so since I was six years old I have been involved in
food retailing. I realised that I wanted to continue 'living in the
supermarket aisles'. I completed a commercial degree which supports
my personally gained knowledge.
Salvatore: As my name would indicate, I grew up in Sicily,
Italy. I was 23 when I moved to France in 2000 to marry Benjamin's
sister, we now have a son named Lucas. I learnt the butchery trade
from my father and brought that skill to the supermarket.
How did you end up becoming
Four years ago, Benjamin's father, Jean-Pierre Montesinos, provided
financial backing and the necessary know-how so that Salvatore,
then 29 and Benjamin, then 20, could take over the supermarket.
Where is the store located
and what is your customer profile?
"Our supermarket is easy to reach
in the Gard region, close to Avignon.There are competitors in the
area but we differentiate ourselves with the quality of our
products. Our customers are very varied; we have many retired
pensioners living in the area but also a lot of tourists come here,
Can you share their
shopping patterns with us?
Our customers have a refined taste and are very focused on quality.
They recognise good quality of products and they take the time to
shop. They enjoy the shopping experience and obtaining the right
How have you invested in
the future development of your store?
We have completely renovated the fruit and vegetable
department, installing a sprinkler system. We have also introduced
electronic shelf labels and bought two delivery vans. We invested
not only financially, but also passion and enthusiasm, and have
accepted the advice of our franchisor. We are especially proud of
the traditional butchery which we have included in the store
layout; this provides us with good profit and keeps our very
demanding customers very loyal. We use one of the vehicles to
collect certain products from the producers, such as fresh fruit
and vegetables which ensures that we have them instore as quickly
as possible. The other vehicle is used to deliver groceries to our
customers. Furthermore, we hold wine tasting sessions during which
we combine the best old and new wines, including some well-known
brands. We have our own wine expert who selects wines from the
region for us. Many wines are procured directly from the
How would you describe
yourselves as managers?
We are ambitious managers with a lot of initiative and have in the
past few years gained ample experience. We regularly liaise with
our employees and aim to have a great team spirit which ensures
that not only is a lot of work done but it is also a good working
The trend towards 'fresh'
has been integrated in your store. Which products do you specialise
in and how have customers reacted?
Our traditional butchery offers a wide range of fresh
products, from sausages and roti to duck fillet with orange and
rabbit with prunes.
We also have a 'food to go'
section, offering regional specialties and a 'Snack Point' where
fresh sandwiches and salads are available. Our customers remain
loyal to us because of the high quality which we offer in these
areas. In this way, we offer convenience to our customers.
Describe the personal
contacts you have with consumers?
We meet our customers when we deliver their groceries but
also when they are shopping in the supermarket and we know them
very well. The great atmosphere instore is not only a result of the
good team spirit but also from the customers which is a direct
result of our relationship with them. We also sponsor the local
Rugby club which has 8,000 fans and competes in the fifth
Finally, do you have an
interesting SPAR story?
Being a village supermarket, it is essential that we are always
open. Although many outlets stayed closed recently during the heavy
snow fall, we remained open. Salvatore collected customers who were
unable to reach us; some people came to the store on skis and a
farmer used his tractor to bring a load of customers on his