Can you tell us a little
Moshtaba: I was born in Iran into a family of shoe makers.
When I was 18, I arrived in The Netherlands in 1998 via
Afghanistan, Poland and Russia, where my father did business.
Yasaman: I was also born in Iran where I studied medical
science. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to see more of
the world. After completing my study, I travelled alone to The
Netherlands in 2004 and completed an MBD study here.
How did you become SPAR
MH: I began working as a head cashier in a
supermarket. During this time I was able to work in many different
departments and eventually became the Assistant Manager. I
completed a number of different training courses including
supermarket management and was promoted to Branch Manager. After
working for two years as an Account Manager for a soft drinks
producer, I knew that I wanted to be a retailer and have a large
supermarket. SPAR appealed to me as a company which would support
me as an independent retailer. I had seen some excellent SPAR
supermarkets and felt that there was one in Leiden that would be
YH: Moshtaba took me to see a SPAR supermarket and asked
me for my opinion on the store. When I walked into the supermarket,
I knew that I was at home!
Can you give us some
details about the store location?
Our store is the closest to the centre of Leiden. The
supermarket is well located for the many residents in the area.
There are a number of competitors in the area. Please describe your
customer profile. There are many modern, young and older consumers
with one or two person households. We also get a lot of passing
trade, students and tourists from diverse countries who are
visiting the historical centre of Leiden. Retailers in the area
also do their shopping here.
Can you share their
shopping patterns with us?
The smaller households of single or older people use luxury
products, the so-called A-brands and purchase many 'convenience'
items. They are not very price sensitive. Students live in houses
and eat together, so they purchase larger quantities of good
quality items. The retailers in the area buy their lunch and for
company parties. Tourists usually purchase food-for-now.
How have you invested for
the future development of your store?
We renovated the supermarket to make it more appealing and
implemented a formula which works really well, namely: full, clean
and really enjoyable atmosphere! What do you enjoy about being SPAR
retailers? I find it very enjoyable to be able to bring back to a
city the village atmosphere and lifestyle through presentation and
personal contact with both the customers and our employees.
How would you describe
yourself as a manager?
I like to think of myself as a people manager. My employees are
part of one big family and our supermarket is officially a
'training company' for students who regularly come to obtain work
experience. I am also a guest lecturer at a vocational training
school and stimulate young people to study as much as possible.
Yasaman, what is it like to
work together with your husband?
We made an agreement early on that for the first three years we
would work full-time together. We enjoy working together very much
and I wanted to do that. We have clear separation of roles whereby
I am the Office Manager and my husband is the Floor Manager. I am
frequently very busy with the administrative tasks but
when it is necessary I can work on
the shop floor. We hold a business meeting every second week.
Which are the best-selling
SPAR private label products?
Coffee pads and pet food are selling really well at present. The
household products are superior as private label products but the
best of them all is SPAR cheese!
The trend towards 'fresh'
has been integrated in your store, which products do you specialise
in and how have consumers reacted?
We offer fresh bread from the local baker. The SPAR Walden-bread is
so much in demand that consumers fight for it. The ready-made meals
are also very popular. Describe the personal contacts you have with
your customers We interact a great deal with our customers as we
believe that attention is not only important but is the reason why
we enjoy working so much. Sharing stories about our lives is very
personal and enjoyable.
Finally, do you have an
interesting SPAR story?
To illustrate how much our customers have taken us to
their hearts I can say that when our son was born, I literally had
to hire a van to be able to take the gifts home. Contact
International would like to thank Moshtaba and Yasaman for telling
us their story and wish them much success in their SPAR future.