Charlie and Ruth Hamilton’s retailing legacy across the Omagh area continued this week, with the official opening of the all-new SPAR Castlederg.
The store has undergone a huge refurbishment to become a fresh food superstore – and the largest SPAR in the UK – that will provide the local community with a one-stop-shop for fresh, locally sourced products, big brand names and food-to-go, bringing a whole new shopping experience to the town.
The family first established their retail empire from humble beginnings in 1979 with Hamilton’s SPAR, Newtownstewart and 16 years later SPAR Castlederg first opened its doors, followed by their Tamlaght Road SPAR in 1998. They have grown to be trusted and highly respected retailers within their local community, and among their industry throughout Ireland and the UK. Charlie and Ruth’s son, David has branched out with three of his own stores in Fermanagh, and their daughter owns Joe’s Chippy in Sion Mills.
SPAR Castlederg, managed by Cherry Keatley and which has provided opportunity for 15 new jobs in the area, now stands as an over 6,000 sq. ft superstore. It provides the community with the opportunity to shop and stock up for a few days, choose something for tonight’s tea, and pick up something for now, thanks to the extensive range of food-to-go options.
Charlie Hamilton commented; “Over the past couple of years, our local shoppers’ habits have changed, and we are adapting alongside them to ensure we’re meeting their needs. They don’t want to have to travel out of town, they want to have a choice of fresh and local groceries on their doorsteps, and where they can pop in to every few days.
“We have around ten ‘hyper local’ suppliers, from H&H Bakery to Cavanagh Eggs, alongside James Beatty Potatoes and McGavigan Meats. Keeping our food miles down and supporting our local suppliers provides even more local job security, which is important to us and our shoppers, who can always trust us to provide local on our shelves.”
The locality doesn’t stop at the mid-Ulster suppliers, but from across Northern Ireland as the store also has bays of own-brand products sourced by Henderson Wholesale, from The Greengrocer and SPAR enjoy local.
Charlie continued; “We are a convenient stop for those on their lunch hour or passing through for that important morning coffee, so we have upgraded to the all-new Barista Bar machines. We have two in-store and they provide the usual menu of cappuccinos, lattes, americanos and tea as well as the new flat white and luxury hot chocolate.”
The Barista Bar machines complement the new food-to-go offering of hot and cold breakfast, lunch and dinner options including a self-serve salad bar, pre-packed and freshly made sandwiches plus a large selection of homemade meals from the team on-site.
Hamilton’s Butchery provides a fantastic range of fresh meat, chicken, duck and fish in-store from an all new, extended counter, with the team made up of two full time butchers and two assistants, providing recipe ideas and advice to shoppers throughout the day.
Paddy Doody, Sales and Marketing Director at Henderson Group which owns the SPAR brand in Northern Ireland added; “Charlie and Ruth’s family business is a perfect example of community retailing, and evolving to meet your shoppers growing needs. Starting as a small SPAR store, the Castlederg outlet now sits as a community superstore providing an unrivalled range of locally sourced fresh foods at value prices.
“The amenities and services are provided in a safe and convenient outlet for shoppers, easily accessed thanks to the store’s 65-space car park that sits alongside the 4-pump STAR forecourt. This is a substantial investment in the local community by Charlie and Ruth and will enhance the area. Congratulations to the whole team!”
The support for local extends beyond the groceries, with the Castlederg team committing to raise £5,000 for charity in the next 12 months, which will be donated to Air Ambulance NI and the NSPCC. Their Halloween festivities gave the campaign a great start, with over £1,000 raised towards the total already.
Charlie finished; “It’s been an honour to serve our local community for the past 42 years. We are so proud to open our new, flagship store in Castlederg and hope to continue to bring top choice and value to our shoppers and be famous for fresh in the area by supporting our local farmers and suppliers. We’ll be going back to our roots and rebuilding the Newtownstewart store next to ensure we’re providing all our communities with their essentials, on their doorstep.
“None of this would be possible without the dedication of our team, our new recruits and of course, the support of my wife Ruth and our children.”
Hamilton’s SPAR Castlederg is open 7am to 11pm, Monday – Sunday.