How It all Began

Charles J. Lang started his involvement in the food industry when he went to work for his uncle's grocery store in St Andrews. His interest developed and in 1919 he purchased Max Poulson's food brokers business in Dundee. This business had been established since 1880 and in the aftermath of the First World War, Charles Lang saw great opportunities for business. In those days, there were 5 dollars to £1 and therefore America and Canada offered great opportunities for food importing at advantageous rates. Holland also provided a good market and the Import of Dutch cheese grew until the Company was recognised as the leading importer of cheese in the country. The Dutch connection was developed with more and more Dutch product being imported by the company. Corned beef was another popular line and having bought it in cases of 12 for 42/6d, it was then sold at 2d per quarter and the Lang trade name of "Stelma" was a renowned product and a good seller.

Junior joins the Business
When CJ Lang started in the business in 1927, he was given a brown sample bag and told by his father, "out you go junior. Take this bag and get selling!". The market was primarily grocer's shops but goods were also supplied to boarding houses and hotels. In addition to the cheese, CJ Lang also had the sole agreement to sell "Middlemass" biscuits, which proved very popular, and as the years went on, more and more solus arrangements were arranged. In recognition of the work he was doing, the name of the Company was changed in 1934 from "CJ Lang" to "CJ Lang and Son Limited."

Business prospered and new premises were sought in Dundee for expansion. The first site was the old Fairweathers Tobacco Factory behind the King's Theatre. In 1948, the Company purchased much more spacious premises between Sugar House Wynd and St. Andrews Street Lane. Later on, CJ Lang took over Hugh F.Black and Sons of Ward Road in Dundee, a local provisions company and this enabled the first Cash and Carry premises to be developed in 1960 in Ward Road. This Cash and Carry operation was to be called "Martex" a name originated by Graeme Lang, young Charles' son .

From Small Beginings
Also in 1960, CJ Lang and Son Limited joined VIVO Group Trading, later to amalgamate with SPAR Great Britain in 1975. This amalgamation proved to be one of the most significant moves in the company's history, at that point SPAR Scotland numbered 102 stores. The level of growth was accelerating and a new structure of management helped to direct this process. Martex Cash and Carry started trading in Perth in the former Dye Works at Tulloch Road and Martex Dundee moved to its present location in a custom built warehouse in 1972. Martex Cupar opened in 1974 and Martex Perth moved to a Greenfield site in the Inveralmond Estate in 1977.

CJ Lang acquired the business of G&P Merchants (Livingston) Limited in 1982 and this business was moved to Dundee. This increased the SPAR distribution coverage from the former areas of Perthshire, Angus and Fife to more than two thirds of Scotland, from the Highland line to the Borders. CJ Lang subsequently took over the SPAR Frozen Food distribution for this area and increased the number of SPAR stores by 108.

Wholesale and Retail
The next development was that of SPAR Franchise stores and 1986 saw the opening of two stores in Dundee and Blairgowrie. These stores, although owned by CJ Lang, were operated by an independent operator under a Franchise Agreement.

In January 1987, a large retail store was purchased from an existing SPAR customer in Abronhill, Cumbernauld. In that same year, 11 retail outlets formerly under the Shoppers Paradise banner were purchased from the Dee Corporation.

In 1989, CJ Lang and Son Limited bought Edwards (Aberdeen) Limited which comprised of Cash and Carry, Offshore Supplies, Delivered Catering and Catering Equipment divisions.

SPAR Scotland
In 1993 SPAR Scotland was born as CJ Lang & Son Ltd consolidated its position and acquired the SPAR Franchise for the remainder of Scotland from its primary competition of the time "Watson & Philip". CJ Lang was now the SPAR Wholesaler for the whole of Scotland.

Also in 1993 CJ Lang acquired 18 Norco Supermarkets in the Aberdeen Area and converted them to the SPAR format.

That period of expansion was completed with the development of a 14.5 acre distribution site at Longtown Road in Dundee and the development of a purpose built Chilled & Frozen Distribution Depot at Clepington Road in Dundee.

Continued Growth
CJ Lang has continued dramatic growth with the continued expansion of its Retail interests.

Acquisitions of further Retail Stores all over Scotland cemented CJ Lang's position as the leading Independent Food Wholesaler & Retailer in Scotland.

Significant expansion was achieved through National Partnerships with NAAFI supermarkets.

Considerable and continuing investment in Store Development to continuously improve the In-Store Service and experience to our customers.



Family Pride
The Company still remains very much a Scottish family business and as such, is one of Scotland's largest independent Companies. Mr C.G. Lang's daughter Mrs Joan Scott-Adie is the current Chairman of the company and the Deputy Chairman is Mr John Scott-Adie with immediate members of their family as Non-Executive Directors.