Richard Henderson, the local retailer operating SPAR Tobermore, has kicked off a year of celebrations as he approaches the 40th anniversary of his store in Magherafelt.

Richard has owned the store since 1983, and alongside his brother, Crawford, also runs seven other SPAR stores across Northern Ireland and Scotland.

In October 1983, the busy Tobermore convenience store had just six employees, which, thanks to multiple refurbishments, relocations and expansions over the years, has tripled to a team of 18, all employed from the local area.

In March 2000 the store relocated to a brand new and bigger site, where it stands today, bringing additional and much-needed services to the local community including the Post Office, onsite ATM, National Lottery, coal and gas, an extensive fresh offering from local suppliers, Mauds ice cream and a food-to-go counter serving hot breakfast and lunch for those on the go.

The store has always been at the heart of the community, supporting a number of local groups and community initiatives over the past 40 years. Ensuring children have a safe space to play and learn is important to the Hendersons, and in 2021, the store participated in fundraising towards the opening of the local playgroup, ToberTinys Community Playgroup, and have recently provided funds to allow Tobermore Primary School develop a brand-new computer suite.

SPAR Tobermore also shows support to local sports teams including Tobermore Football Club and Rainey Endowed Rugby Club.

Providing a hub for the local community has been central to the team at the store, says Richard; “It has been a huge privilege to be part of the local community for 40 years, and to expand and develop our business to meet the changing needs of our shoppers.

“We are determined to provide everyday value, and a choice of locally sourced products so we can also support the local farming community, and those suppliers in our area. As part of the SPAR NI network, we can bring initiatives such as Mega Deals and 12 Deals of Christmas to our shoppers for year round value, while also providing better choices such as the range of Healthy Choices ready meals from Apperley’s Butchers in Ballymoney.

“We are very proud to have served the community for 40 years and we are looking forward to many more years to come as part of this fantastic neighbourhood.”