David Sands elected Vice-Chair of SPAR Scottish Guild

Category: Latest News

Leading independent retailer David Sands has been elected as the Vice-Chair of the Scottish Guild and will represent the Scottish retailers on the National Guild Board of SPAR.

David will replace award-winning independent SPAR retailer Saleem Sadiq who has served as the Scottish Guild Board Director since 2016.

The democratic Guild system, which has stood it in good stead ever since it launched in the UK in 1957, means SPAR can claim to be truly accountable to its members in a way that no other symbol group is.

The SPAR Guild system, which ultimately sees SPAR central office decisions on areas such as marketing agreed by the regional Guild committee of retailers and wholesalers and ratified by a central board, has been a major factor in the ongoing success of the symbol group.

The Guild system is not only at the heart of the way SPAR is run in the UK, but also central to the international SPAR ethos all over the world. In the UK, every SPAR retailer is automatically a member of their regional Guild linked to their wholesaler – be that the Scottish Guild, the Ulster Guild, the Northern Guild, Meridian & Welsh Guild, or the Wessex Guild.

The National Guild Board of SPAR, which meets five times a year, and is made up of retailers and wholesaler representatives from each of the regional Guilds. The SPAR difference is that having regional representation means they have an innate understanding of the communities in which they operate.

The chief function of the regional Guilds, and then the National Guild Board, is to authorise or reject plans and promotional schemes and agree SPAR’s marketing, retail, own label, and other strategies and align them with retailer’s needs. SPAR prides itself on retailers being involved at every level of the decision-making process, to promote a thriving independent retailer membership. The group also monitors and understands developments and trends in competitors and consumers and recommends their application within SPAR.

Another function of the National Guild is to award monies from the SPAR Benevolent Fund and the Charitable Fund. In addition, the National Guild organises study tours to visit other retailers in the UK and abroad and manages SPAR’s bi-annual national conference - the next event takes place in South Africa in March 2024.

Regional Guilds are made up of differing numbers of SPAR retailers, ranging from six to 20, and chaired by a director from the regional wholesaler. In the regions SPAR retailers are invited to put themselves forward to join their regional Guild committee and are then elected on to the committee. Any SPAR retailer can attend these meetings as an observer.

David Sands said: “I am delighted to be taking up the role of Vice Chair of the Guild. I have been an independent retailer all my working life and I am committed to seeing our sector flourish. We face a number of challenges, and I am hoping that the Guild will be seen by SPAR independents as a forum for new ideas, good practice and ever improving services from our wholesaler.”

Brian Straiton, Independent Sales Director for CJ Lang & Son Ltd and Chair of the Scottish Guild, adds: “Our Guild system is a brilliant addition to our business. It allows us to identify retail business ambition and inform the business of issues and opportunities for retailers. It’s a forum where we can share information and best practice and we can influence SPAR in the development of strategic plans all aligned with our retailer’s needs. We thank Saleem for the work he has done representing the Scottish Guild over the last seven years and welcome David to the role of Scottish Guild Vice-Chair.”

David Sands is a family-owned, fifth-generation business that has over 200 years of grocery retailing in Scotland. Originally founded in 1812, the business has gone from strength to strength. The David’s Kitchen store brand was launched in 2013 and today the company has a total of four stores operating around Scotland, including the award-winning Pinkie Farm store in Musselburgh with plans to expand the estate in the future.

Who’s on the Scottish SPAR Guild:

Chair Brian Straiton

Vice-Chair David Sands

Saleem Sadiq

Iqbal Sadiq

Chris McCallum

Mohammed Razzaq

Susan Hutchison

Innes MacDonald

Jenna Simpson

Gordon Landsburgh

Sonya Harper

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