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.
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
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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