The story of SPAR in the early years stems from Adriaan Van Well, a Dutch wholesaler with vision. He was inspired by a simple yet powerful philosophy – independent wholesalers and retailers can achieve more by working together than working alone. It was the belief of Van Well that only through working in co-operation could the independent wholesale and retail sector survive and prosper in the face of increasing competition from multiple chains.
In the late 1950’s four grocery stores in Salisbury (now Harare) joined together to form a buying group, one of which was the Divaris Brothers.
They called themselves “The Four Just Men” (after Edgar Wallace’s latest thriller at the time), and had buying meetings every ten days. After reading in the Sunday Times about SPAR’s launch in South Africa, they decided to apply to SPAR South Africa for a Rhodesian franchise.
Vic Taitz and George Divaris travelled to Johannesburg and met with the directors of SPAR South Africa who agreed to grant the franchise rights to two wholesalers being Pick and Save in Salisbury and Gordon Brothers in Bulawayo.
SPAR in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) prospered but sanctions with South Africa forced the two wholesalers to seek their own rights directly from SPAR International in 1966 making us the 13th country to join SPARs worldwide expansion.
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