I got to last week’s Spar media briefing early, so wandered around James Brundle’s east London c-store/deli/burger bar hybrid with the symbol group’s managing director Debbie Robinson.
We talked about her vision for Spar and the things she likes best about this particular store. Things like the huge Bacon Jam display, the specialist fish displayed on pebbles and seaweed and the florist concession from Borough Market.
The parallels between Debbie’s vision for what convenience stores must do to thrive and her passion for the Brundles’ business are clear.
As is why Spar entered into a joint venture with them in order to help them grow and be a part of their success.
The store addresses several of the areas laid out by Debbie in the presentation for how any convenience businesses could thrive.
You couldn’t argue against James Brundle’s inventiveness. He’s got a blend of premium and budget, for example wild rabbit stocked alongside Spar pulled pork and refillable English cask wine next to a Peroni instant-chilling machine.
The parallels between Debbie’s vision for what convenience stores must do to thrive and her passion for the Brundles’ business are clear
Combined with the pop up-style florist in the entrance, there is a real feeling of theatre all around the store.
The Brundles have made sure the business is personalised and tailored to its surroundings. The hand-arranged flowers and local coffee, beer and food served in the licenced café appeal to visitors to the neighbouring hospital and local arty types in equal measures.
Debbie even suggested retailers use space for a childrens’ play area to build links with future customers. Judging by the number of young parents I saw walking back to the station, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s one in Homerton before too long.