G&E Murgatroyd, James Hall & Co.’s company owned stores division, celebrated the opening of their 118th SPAR store in Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria. Situated in the picturesque Cumbrian market town, SPAR Kirkby Stephen features a large forecourt, Clayton Park Deli and a 3,000 sq ft. store filled with everyday essentials and award winning products. The store was launched on Wednesday 5th December by store manager Iain Jefferson and two of James Hall’s great grandsons, Mr Ian Hall and Mr Chris Keogh.
James Hall & Co. celebrated the launch of their thirteenth year of sponsorship for the SPAR Lancashire School Games through a special VIP event held at Bowland View on the 14th February. 120 special guests attended alongside two Team GB athletes, Nathan Maguire (Paralympian Sprinter) and Lisa Whiteside (Commonwealth Gold boxer) who captivated the children with their inspiring tales of becoming a professional athlete. Children were treated to a tour of the warehouse, lunch, talks from previous athletes, and a range of branded goodies such as a SPAR Lancashire School Games water bottle and drawstring bag.
This event marked the beginning of the 2019 season, culminating in the games’ county finals in July.
Independent SPAR retailer, Paul Stone, picked up Best Independent Store in the 2019 Convenience Retail Awards. Recognised for his SPAR store on Princess Street in Manchester City Centre, the award also marked a special anniversary for Paul, the 25th anniversary of launching 24 hour opening times across his SPAR stores in Manchester.
Paul is certainly no stranger to taking home national retail awards having been awarded six over the past five years including Best Independent Convenience Store at the 2015 Convenience Retail Awards and Best Independent Retailer at the 2016 Retail Industry Awards.
April marked the expansion of James Hall & Co.’s vegan and vegetarian range, after a successful launch in February 2019. The range of mouth-watering, meat-free wraps and sandwiches was complemented by the addition of two new delicious salads; Somewhere over the Grainbow and Hey Mambo Italiano. With quirky names and colourful packaging, both products have been approved by the Vegetarian Society and are included in SPAR’s £3.50 meal deal.
G&E Murgatroyd launched a new initiative with Burnley Community Kitchen, enabling SPAR customers to support their local foodbank by collecting donations in ten SPAR stores across Burnley, Accrington and Pendle. In addition to collecting in-store donations, James Hall & Co.’s company owned bakery, Clayton Park, also donate weekly surplus stock to the charity, providing much needed bakery products for regional breakfast clubs, which support local primary schools in ensuring all children have access to a healthy breakfast.
This partnership has continued throughout the year with stores collecting donations on a regular basis, running active sells at the till and dedicated Christmas campaigns.
James Hall & Co. had its annual SPAR Retailer Celebration Event, celebrating strong partnerships and continued success with its valued network of independent retailers. Held at The Grand Hotel in Blackpool, the company hosted a weekend of family fun, visiting Viva Cabaret and Blackpool’s famous Pleasure Beach. The weekend’s three course Gala Dinner also helped to raise £2175 for Marie Curie.
G&E Murgatroyd also raised a staggering £18,000 for Marie Curie’s Blooming Great Tea Party appeal through organising cake sales, raffles and book sales. Staff at Bowland View also hosted a staff bake-athon, raising £247 for Marie Curie.
Blackpool’s Stanley Park played host to the thirteenth, SPAR Lancashire School Games county final, the county’s largest youth sporting event.
Over 100,000 Lancashire school children took part in 2019’s competition, with a series of Level 1, 2 and 3 events taking place throughout the year, resulting in 148 Lancashire schools qualifying for the county finals. Teams enjoyed gloriously sunny weather and took part in sports ranging from Tri Golf, Netball, Hockey, Angling, Rugby and Climbing.
Celebrating 54 years in Birkdale village, SPAR Birkdale was transformed over the summer, re-opening on Thursday 14th August having benefitted from a significant refurbishment. The company owned store now features a Graham Eyes High Class Butchers counter, a Clayton Park Deli serve over, vaping offer, a Tango Ice Blast machine and a loose fruit and vegetable stand, designed to prevent unnecessary plastic waste reaching the shop floor.
September saw the launch of a deliciously new spicy food-to-go range, released under James Hall & Co.’s ethnic food brand, Fazila Foods. Designed to offer retailers the latest in spiced lunchtime options, the range includes 9 wraps, sandwiches and flatbreads and flavours such as Keralan style chicken with garlic and ginger mayonnaise, and Onion Bhaji and Bombay potato wrap.
SPAR G&E Murgatroyd Warton also picked up The Northern England Forecourt Trader Award 2019 (for sites up to 4 million litres per annum) and SPAR G&E Murgatroyd Newton Road in Carlisle was awarded National Lottery Retailer of the Year at the Retail Industry Awards 2019.
October was a busy month at James Hall & Co. with over 200 retailers attending a two day Christmas Retail Event, designed to help drive sales and profit for the festive period. A series of short presentations were given from key members of the company’s trading, marketing and sales team with top trading tips and the unveiling of SPAR’s fantastic Christmas and New Year offers.
James Hall & Co. also celebrated a huge milestone in October, having produced 50 million sandwiches! This came weeks after the announcement that the company had donated £500,000 to charity through automatic sandwich donations. On top of that, G&E Murgatroyd also raised a fantastic £16,500 for Marie Curie through Halloween in-store fundraising.
2019 was the year of championing local and independent produce growers with the company refreshing its fruit and vegetable offering to provide SPAR retailers with the benefits of buying local: quality control, stock availability, minimising the supply chain and reducing carbon emissions. These local products include chillies from Lancashire, potatoes from Ormskirk and range of products from local farms in Tarleton and Hesketh Bank including radishes, broccoli, peashoots and carrots.
Clayton Park, James Hall & Co.’s company owned bakery, also celebrated a fantastic new partnership with Wigan Athletic FC, supplying the club with their delicious pies. This is in addition to Clayton Park’s existing partnership with Liverpool FC and Everton FC.
Staff from G&E Murgatroyd yet again proved themselves to be fundraising champions, raising over £12,000 for Marie Curie through a dedicated ‘SPARkle’ weekend and bringing their 2019 Marie Curie total to £60,000!
9 stores in East Lancashire also collected 554 chocolate advent calendars for vulnerable children across Burnley, Pendle and Accrington, sharing the calendars with children suffering the effects of domestic abuse and violence, poverty or living with severe disabilities.
James Hall & Co. also organised a number of festive charity initiatives with a dedicated Teddy Bear Drive across the company collecting 430 Christmas gifts for vulnerable children living in poverty, in partnership with Rock FM and Cash for Kids.
James Hall & Co. also donated surplus stock to The Foxtons Centre in Preston, gifting 40 boxes of clementines for the centre’s soup kitchen, in addition to the properties department also running a collection for the centre.