A North Wales Spar store has received the support of local suppliers in its battle against a new supermarket.
The 3,000sq ft Spar Y Maes store in Pwllheli faced stiff competition when a 15,000sq ft Asda opened just 500 metres away in November 2006. Conrad Davies, who runs the Spar store with his son Mike, told C-Store that Asda had approached several of his local suppliers and offered them the chance to supply its North Wales branches, but many had declined.

Conrad said he was proud of his ties with local suppliers. He said: "We do a lot of business with their products, and in many cases their businesses have grown along with ours and they are as loyal to us as we are to them."

The Spar store suffered a fall in sales in the weeks after Asda came to the town, but a range of initiatives within the local community helped to bring Christmas trading figures up to the same level as last year.
"We've developed our offer to suit customers," said Conrad. "We know our regulars personally and go the extra mile for them. We support the football team and local events, and we're always ready to try something new such as a free Eco Bags promotion, in-store tastings and foreign currency exchange.

"We can do all this because we're independent - people here know we are more than just another shop, we're a part of the community."

Tony Burgess of Birchgrove Eggs, who has worked with the Davies' for five years, was one of the suppliers to turn down Asda. He said: "In the past I had considered supplying a major supermarket with our free range eggs, but when I considered the loyal support from independent retailers like Conrad and Mike, and their customer base, I asked myself if it would be worth it. 

"The way the dairy industry has been treated by supermarkets sends a shiver down my spine. I will be forever grateful for the support of these independents - they are the people who have enabled us to grow a successful business. Without them, many operations like mine wouldn't be here."

He added: "The majors now appear to be advocating regional food as if they've just invented it. Consumers are intelligent people and realise that supermarkets are just emulating successful independents."